NBC, ABC Offer Fawning Puff Pieces Hailing Bernie’s ‘Revolution’

After conducting live softball interviews with Hillary Clinton on Monday, NBC’s Today and ABC’s Good Morning America both devoted admiring full reports to the Bernie Sanders campaign as well, both touting his “political revolution.”

On Today, co-host Matt Lauer “caught up with Senator Bernie Sanders, as he fought for every last vote.” In a taped interview with Sanders at a campaign rally, Lauer observed: “You are asking the people of Iowa here to start you off on nothing short of a political revolution.” Sanders turned to the crowd and asked, “Is that right?,” prompting loud cheers and applause.

Lauer continued: “It’s a big ask. What have you heard in Iowa over the last couple of days that assures you that they're going to set you on that course?”

Later in the segment, Lauer declared: “Here in Iowa, those who don't seem to be having as much trouble deciding, young people who say they’re ready to caucus.” Talking to young Sanders supporters, he wondered: “Are you motivated to that degree?” Supporter Sam Vanoort replied: “Absolutely. Young people have the energy, you know? I think the young people are gonna get out and do it.”

After his report, Lauer noted Sanders having his own cheering section during the interview: “It was kind of an interesting circumstance, asking Senator Sanders questions and every time I'd ask him a question, he would turn and ask the question to the crowd.”

Tell the Truth 2016

On GMA, co-host Robin Roberts similarly touted her time with the socialist presidential candidate: “Sanders is drawing large, noticeably younger crowds at his campaign stops and I had a chance to talk to him and his wife last night.”

Following a clip of Sanders telling a rally of supporters, “It sounds like you want to make a political revolution,” Roberts proclaimed: “He's the Democratic hopeful behind that revolution, taking on income and wealth inequality.”

Neither Lauer nor Roberts asked Sanders about Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal, but Roberts did fret over his campaign tactics: “Hillary Clinton's chief strategist says that you have run the most negative campaign in a Democratic primary ever.” Sanders dismissed the charge:

I have tried my best to run a positive, issue-oriented campaign, never making personal attacks against Hillary Clinton, debating the issues. So when they talk about me running a negative campaign, that's just absurd. I’ve never run, in my entire political life, a negative ad.

Roberts gushed over Sanders rejecting formal attire: “I heard that you went to the White House and there were only two people who were not wearing a tux, you and Nelson Mandela. That true?” Sanders remarked: “...a tux is kind of symbol of class privilege. You know, it says, ‘Hey, I'm really important and I'm fancy, and you know, you're something else.’ That’s all.”

Turning to the Democratic candidate’s wife, Jane Sanders, Roberts enthused: “Mrs. Sanders, you said this is the reason you fell in love, his ideas.” Roberts shared: “Standing by his side, wife Jane of more than 25 years, who he proposed to at a Friendly's parking lot after being on break.”

Continuing the loving coverage, Roberts highlighted: “I saw the big hug that you gave a veteran on the way out, and I know, Mrs. Sanders, you said when a veteran stopped you all, when you were on the fence about whether or not your husband should run, that sealed it for you.” Mrs. Sanders responded: “That is, I mean, people were counting on him. And when people are counting on you, you have to deliver.”

After the taped report, fellow co-host George Stephanopoulos praised Sanders: “And I remember, I was actually working in Congress 25 years ago when he first got to the Congress. And one of the most striking things about Bernie Sanders, his message has been consistent all these 25 years.” Roberts agreed: “...you're right, he stays on message, he believes in what he believes in, and he has been consistent throughout.”  

Both Roberts and Lauer's avoided pressing Sanders on his extreme left-wing ideology, instead just keeping the focus on celebrating his campaign.

Here is a full transcript of Roberts’ February 1 report:

7:31 AM ET

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But first, Robin, you had the chance last night to sit down with Bernie and Jane Sanders.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Yes, after a rally that was close by here. He's making headlines overnight, he says he is not stopping here in Iowa, he's going all the way to the convention. Now, early on in the campaign, not many expected Hillary Clinton would have such serious competition, but they have – she has, and it’s from a senator from Vermont. Sanders is drawing large, noticeably younger crowds at his campaign stops and I had a chance to talk to him and his wife last night.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Sanders Vows to Fight to the Finish; Says He Will Stay in Race Until Convention]

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS [I-VT]: It sounds like you want to make a political revolution.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

ROBERTS: He's the Democratic hopeful behind that revolution, taking on income and wealth inequality.

SANDERS: Enough is enough!

ROBERTS: I caught up with Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane just hours before the big day,  backstage after a rally in Des Moines.

[To Sanders] I think you said that today, that no matters what happens with the caucuses, you're in it for the long haul.

SANDERS: Oh, absolutely. I think our message is resonating throughout this country. People want our government to represent all of us and not a handful of billionaires. I gotta tell you, Robin, all over the country, when I talk about that, people say absolutely.

ROBERTS: People are going to finally be able to – enough of the media, enough of the pundits and the polls – the people are going to speak. So what are your thoughts?

SANDERS: I think we will win if there's a large voter turnout. If a lot of nontraditional voters –  younger people, working class people, lower-income people, who often do not participate in the political process – if they come out in big numbers, we'll win. If they don't, we won't.
    
JANE SANDERS: And we want to see an enlivening of the democracy, here, in New Hampshire, and everywhere else. We want to see people vote, no matter who they’re voting for. We want to see them caucus and vote and participate.

ROBERTS: Hillary Clinton's chief strategist says that you have run the most negative campaign in a Democratic primary ever.

SANDERS: Ever! My God, going back 500 years. I have tried my best to run a positive, issue-oriented campaign, never making personal attacks against Hillary Clinton, debating the issues. So when they talk about me running a negative campaign, that's just absurd. I’ve never run, in my entire political life, a negative ad. Not too many people can say that.  

ROBERTS: I heard that you went to the White House and there were only two people who were not wearing a tux, you and Nelson Mandela. That true?

SANDERS: Yes.

ROBERTS: So, if there's an inaugural ball will you then finally –

SANDERS: I don't think so. You know, I think – I’ll probably get myself in a lot of trouble right now – but, you know – and my wife disagrees with me no doubt – but a tux is kind of symbol of class privilege. You know, it says, “Hey, I'm really important and I'm fancy, and you know, you're something else.” That’s all.  

ROBERTS: You told my colleague recently, Martha Raddatz, with tongue in cheek, that you got a big ego like most politicians, how do you stay grounded?

SANDERS: It’s a very humbling...

JANE SANDERS: That’s what I was gonna use, that word.

SANDERS: ...and scary experience because people are putting so much faith into you. You know, it’s difficult. You know, you don't want to let people down. And in fact, when I – one of the hesitancies I had about running in the first place was that I didn't want to let people down.

ROBERTS: Mrs. Sanders, you said this is the reason you fell in love, his ideas.

SANDERS: Is that why you fell in love? I thought it was my good looks.

ROBERTS: Standing by his side, wife Jane of more than 25 years, who he proposed to at a Friendly's parking lot after being on break. [To Jane Sanders] Was it really true? In the parking lot of Friendly’s?  

SANDERS: Alright! Enough, enough! It's national television.

JANE SANDERS: Well, he wanted to go out again and I said, “No, I want to get married.” So, and I love you and we're best friends now, so let's not mess it up. And then he had to ask me a couple of times, put his hands on my shoulders and said, “No, will you marry me?” And I said, “When?”  

ROBERTS: I saw the big hug that you gave a veteran on the way out, and I know, Mrs. Sanders, you said when a veteran stopped you all, when you were on the fence about whether or not your husband should run, that sealed it for you.

JANE SANDERS: That is, I mean, people were counting on him. And when people are counting on you, you have to deliver.

SANDERS: We are going to make American history on Monday night.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

ROBERTS: You are used to this underdog type of position.

JANE SANDERS: They always say, “He can't win. He can’t be a congressman. Then he can't be a senator.” Each time he's proven them wrong. So, this year.

SANDERS: What a nice wife, that’s very nice. I’ll take you out to dinner, okay.

ROBERTS: Last night was his 100th stop here in the state of Iowa. And as you can see, his wife, as often is the case, brings out another side to the candidate.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Another side, but also, you know, she taps into his core strength, persistence. He had to ask her to marry him many, many times. And I remember, I was actually working in Congress 25 years ago when he first got to the Congress. And one of the most striking things about Bernie Sanders, his message has been consistent all these 25 years.

ROBERTS: And when he ran for mayor, ten votes, he won by ten votes. So he has that tenacity, but he – you're right, he stays on message, he believes in what he believes in, and he has been consistent throughout.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And we'll see what happens tonight, no question.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is the Senior News Analyst for MRC