Sen. Bernie Sanders is doing well in the polls, but as his presidential campaign staff explains to Politico, you’d never know that from his media coverage and comments from reporters. Yet in a July 12 New York Times analysis of multiple public opinion polls asking likely voters whom they would choose for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sanders ranks second, behind Joe Biden.

“There are a healthy number [of reporters] who just find Bernie annoying, discount his seriousness, and wish his supporters and movement would just go away,” Sanders’s campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, told Politico.

Sanders’s campaign staff members are not unique in calling out what they see as excessively negative media coverage. During the 2016 campaign, and even through today, former Hillary Clinton staffers blame the media as at least partially responsible for her loss.

“The media always covered her as the person who would be president and therefore tried to eviscerate her before the election, but covered Trump who was someone who was entertaining and sort of gave him a pass,” John Podesta, the Clinton campaign chairman, said on a private conference call with supporters, The Hill reported in 2016.

In 2016, Sanders supporters accused the media of a “Bernie blackout.” In a statement from December 2015, as The Los Angeles Times reported, then-campaign manager Jeff Weaver said, “corporately-owned media may not like Bernie’s anti-establishment views,” but that didn’t prevent them from “[allowing] for a fair debate in this presidential campaign.”

While his staffers say Sanders is getting more coverage than he did in 2016, their current complaints center on the type of coverage, which, as Politico writer Michael Calderone explains, they see as “excessively negative.” The campaign is also using its own platforms to make their concerns heard. As Calderone writes:

On Sanders’ livestreaming show “The 99,” three campaign staffers spent more than an hour last week discussing what they perceive as media bias, such as the tendency to focus on the shiny and salacious rather than Sanders’ decadeslong advocacy for the poor and working class. ‘Standing up on these issues over 40 years is not new and exciting for people,’ said chief of staff Ari Rabin-Havt.

David Sirota, a former journalist and now speechwriter for Sanders, made his displeasure known in a tweet.

Staff members like Shakir were careful to differentiate their complaints from President Trump’s frequent tirades against the media, emphasizing that Sanders “appreciates and understands the role the media plays in a democratic system.”

Dan Pfeiffer, a former Obama staffer and current co-host of the podcast “Pod Save America,” cautions that if the Sanders campaign tried to go after the media the way Trump does, they’d lose.

“The right has had unbelievable success working the refs [the press] by calling the mainstream media biased against them,” he explained to Politico, adding, “Unfortunately for the Sanders campaign, the press too often considers complaints from the left as validation of their objectivity and complaints from the right as something worth addressing to prove their objectivity.”

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