The pro-corporate, pro-establishment bias that permeates CNN was on brazen display during Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate, with three status-quo-loving hosts constantly targeting Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
The attacks started early. As Sanders wrapped up his opening statement, establishment junkie Jake Tapper went in for the kill, kicking things off with a question about the Vermont senator’s ‘Medicare for All’ bill, quoting corporate lobbyist favorite John Delaney who had previously called the plan “political suicide” and asking Sanders to respond. Sanders swatted the criticism away with an apt reminder that Americans are dying for lack of health care while the industry reaps billions of dollars in profit.

Things really got fiery when Sanders dismissed Tapper’s question about health care and higher taxes as “a Republican talking point.” Tapper shut Sanders down sharpish when he dared to mention the unmentionable; CNN’s big pharma advertisers

The irony of the hosts framing Sanders and Warren as a pair of crazy old loonies with fairytale plans was that they ended up giving the two progressives on the stage more time than anyone else to rebut spurious attacks, which they did rather successfully, while refusing to take swipes at each other. 

As the lineup of establishment Democrats (buttressed by corporate-sponsored CNN hosts) made the case for neoliberal corporatism, Warren railed against them and managed to land one of the most memorable zingers of the night:

Sanders and Warren are far from perfect on foreign policy, but the progressive pair were still the best of a bad bunch on the Detroit stage when it came to denouncing foreign adventurism. Hence, CNN’s efforts to brand them as dangerous isolationists. 

Marianne Williamson probably would have offered something insightful on the topic of war had the CNN hosts allowed her to get a word in, but Tapper and crew were having none of her. Nonetheless, she still managed to eke out some of the night’s most memorable moments.