Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a candidate running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in the 2020 campaign, penned a letter this weekend that is critical of a liberal think tank. According to Sanders, the Center for American Progress is making what he believes are undue criticisms of himself and other progressive candidates.
Sanders wrote a letter to the organization, whose news site ThinkProgress recently published critical posts of the candidate, and explained his frustrations, according to reporting from the New York Times.
“Last week, you published an article on ThinkProgress criticizing me for my appearance and for the income I earned from writing a book,” Sanders wrote. “Then, a day later, you published a video that dishonestly attacked me for hypocrisy in my effort to address income inequality in America – a video that was excitedly discussed on many conservative websites.”
Hmm… ThinkProgress reports today that Bernie Sanders' frumpy clothing is a problematic example of white privilege. pic.twitter.com/1JTV8J9r6j
— Lee Fang (@lhfang) April 11, 2019
His criticism didn’t stop with how ThinkProgress treated his own campaign in its reporting. Sanders also took issue in his letter with reporting the site had done on Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s claims of Native American ancestry, as well as the site striking a critical tone toward New Jersey Senator Cory Booker “for moving in a progressive direction and joining with me on a prescription drug importation bill,” Sanders wrote.
Both Warren and Booker are also candidates running for president in the Democratic primary.
Sanders added in his letter his hopes that ThinkProgress and its parent organization, the Center for American Progress, would change their ways.
“The Democratic primary must be a campaign of ideas, not of bad-faith smears,” Sanders said. “Please help play a constructive role in the effort to defeat Donald Trump.”
The Center for American Progress was founded by John Podesta, a close ally of Hillary Clinton’s who was rumored to be on the top of her list of choices to possibly become her chief of staff, had she won the 2016 election. Clinton and Sanders were involved in a fierce primary competition that year, with Clinton going on to win the nomination but lose the general election to Republican nominee Donald Trump.
On its website, ThinkProgress purports to be independent of its parent organization. “Founded in 2005, ThinkProgress is an editorially independent project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund,” the website’s “About” page states.
That sentiment was echoed by Jodi Enda, the editor for ThinkProgress, who said the website’s work is not reviewed before publication by the Center for American Progress.
CAP “had nothing to do with the article or video about Senator Sanders or articles related to any other political leader,” Enda said, adding that the site “will not take sides in the Democratic primaries.”
She offered a warning of her own, seemingly in response to Sanders’s concerns. “Political leaders should not be able to muzzle or stop coverage that they consider critical,” Enda said.