Ahead of Their Debate, CBS Skips Sanders Doubling Down on Castro

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Tuesday was the big night over on CBS where they would hold the final Democratic debate before the primaries South Carolina and the Super Tuesday states. And with socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) occupying the frontrunner’s podium for the first time, one would think the host network would apply a little more scrutiny. But their pre-debate newscast on CBS Evening News completely skipped over the Senator’s recent controversy of praising the murderous regime of Fidel Castro, and his double down.

Political correspondent Ed O’Keefe seemed uninterested in reporting on Sanders’ admiration for the brutal Cuban dictator, while touting how the Sanders campaign put out a purported plan to pay for his policies:

At center stage tonight, Senator Bernie Sanders, the frontrunner, whose likely to face fresh attacks from more moderate opponents. For the first time, the Sanders campaign is providing what it says is a detailed plan to pay for some of the Senator's most-ambitious ideas, like medicate for all, universal childcare, and free public college.

Instead of doing the calculations themselves to see if what the Senator was saying about his “ambitious ideas” was true, O’Keefe simply stated that “His competitors say the math doesn't add up.”

Towards the end of their politics segments, chief White House correspondent Major Garrett teased that the other Democratic candidates planned to open up the opposition research floodgates against the Senator:

 

 

And, Norah, you and I have covered presidential campaigns. You know opposition research is part and parcel of that. Most of that has been kept in the vault against Bernie Sanders thinking he wouldn't get off to this fast start. Now that he has all the campaigns are signaling to me, today, that vault is going to be opened and spill out on to the stage.

Do you know what might be in those vaults, CBS? Sanders’ support for communist regimes. Maybe CBS should do their own research and reporting and not leave it up to political campaigns. It’s called journalism.

In contrast, ABC’s World News Tonight highlighted the outrage to Sanders’ praise for Castro. “The comments sending shockwaves,” reported congressional correspondent Mary Bruce. “A spokeswoman for the DNC says, ‘We are very clear in the Democratic Party that we speak out against brutal dictatorships like those of Castro.’”

Bruce then played this soundbite of former Mayor Pete Buttigieg: “As a Democrat, I don't want to be explaining why our nominee is encouraging people to look on the bright side of the Castro regime.”

On NBC Nightly News, chief White House correspondent Hallie Jackson simply noted the Senator was “doubling down on his controversial comments about Fidel Castro,” and played the soundbite from the CNN town hall on Monday.

Hopefully, CBS will apply more scrutiny to Senator Sanders during the debate.

The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:

CBS Evening News
February 25, 2020
6:33:30 p.m. Eastern

(…)

ED O’KEEFE: At center stage tonight, Senator Bernie Sanders, the frontrunner, whose likely to face fresh attacks from more moderate opponents. For the first time, the Sanders campaign is providing what it says is a detailed plan to pay for some of the Senator's most-ambitious ideas, like medicate for all, universal childcare, and free public college.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Thank you all very much!

O’KEEFE: His competitors say the math doesn't add up. And it’s those kinds of proposals that worry congressional Democrats, like Virginia's Donald McEachin, a supporter of former Vice President Joe Biden.

(…)

6:35:31 p.m. Eastern

NORAH O’DONNELL: It's make or break for these candidates tonight.

MAJOR GARRETT: And it's the last opportunity anyone not named Bernie Sanders has to slow his momentum. Bernie Sanders' momentum is real. It's not an abstraction. And every other Democrat on the stage tonight knows that.

And, Norah, you and I have covered presidential campaigns. You know opposition research is part and parcel of that. Most of that has been kept in the vault against Bernie Sanders thinking he wouldn't get off to this fast start. Now that he has all the campaigns are signaling to me, today, that vault is going to be opened and spill out on to the stage.

(…)

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Debates Foreign Policy Cuba Bias by Omission Political Groups Liberals & Democrats Broadcast Television CBS CBS Evening News Video Ed O'Keefe Major Garrett Bernie Sanders Fidel Castro

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