Ethics Observations On The Washington Post’s Hit Piece On Bernie Sanders

Today the Washington Post presented “Inside Bernie Sanders’s 1988 10-day ‘honeymoon’ in the Soviet Union,” an oddly timed hit piece—yes, I think that’s fair—showing a deluded, middle-aged ,anti-American  politician gawking with approval at the marvels of Communism while slamming his own country and ignoring the obvious signs that the worker’s paradise is crumbling around him. Here’s a sample:

The just-married socialist mayor from Vermont was on what he called “a very strange honeymoon,” an official 10-day visit to the communist country, and he was enthralled with the hospitality and the lessons that could be brought home. “Let’s take the strengths of both systems,” he said upon completing the trip. “Let’s learn from each other.”…As he stood on Soviet soil, Sanders, then 46 years old, criticized the cost of housing and health care in the United States, while lauding the lower prices — but not the quality — of that available in the Soviet Union. Then, at a banquet attended by about 100 people, Sanders blasted the way the United States had intervened in other countries, stunning one of those who had accompanied him.

“I got really upset and walked out,” said David F. Kelley, who had helped arrange the trip and was the only Republican in Sanders’s entourage. “When you are a critic of your country, you can say anything you want on home soil. At that point, the Cold War wasn’t over, the arms race wasn’t over, and I just wasn’t comfortable with it.”

…Sanders had visited Nicaragua in 1985 and hailed the revolution led by Daniel Ortega, which President Ronald Reagan opposed. “I was impressed,” Sanders said then of Ortega, while allowing that “I will be attacked by every editorial writer for being a dumb dope.” At the same time, Sanders voiced admiration for the Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro, whom Reagan and many others in both parties routinely denounced.

Sanders, in turn, said Americans dismissed socialist and communist regimes because they didn’t understand the poverty faced by many in Third World countries. “The American people, many of us, are intellectually lazy,” Sanders said in a 1985 interview with a Burlington television station.

Do read the whole thing. Then explain to me how any party that has substantial numbers of supporters enthralled by someone like this can be trusted…well, to take care of a cat over a weekend. Bernie wasn’t 17 when he acted and spoke this way; it was  31 years ago, but there are no signs that he has changed. He was young leftist fool then, and is an old one now. Yet he is currently second only to clueless old Joe Biden in polls of Democratic Presidential candidates, and worse, his demonstrably bad ideas are the ones most of the rest of the field are advocating to appeal to the young programmed  leftists the colleges are vomiting into the voter pools.

Some related observations:

  • None of this is news. I knew about Bernie and his “honeymoon” in 2015; it wasn’t hard to find out about. Why does the Post pretend that its crack investigative Woodsteins have extracted another scoop?

Where was this article during the 2016 campaign?

  • I hear that Hillary Clinton’s minions are really good at digging up dirt—or manufacturing it—on political opponents. Have you heard that? Funny: Hillary didn’t mention Bernie’s love affair with Stalin’s Children during the debates, or at any other point. Odd, because the many ignorant Democrats voting in the primaries and listening to Bernie’s blather about free, well, everything might have wanted to know that the guy never met a Communist regime he didn’t admire.

Well, maybe not that odd, because Hillary needed an opponent, and she knew the nomination was rigged.

  • Why the hit piece now? It couldn’t be, could it, that the Post knows that the Democrats risk handing another term to the man they detest if they nominate a Socialist, so it is trying to clear the path for the most electable—dim, hypocritical, creaky and ever-groping, but electable (and how disturbing is THAT?)—Joe Biden by finally spilling the red beans bout Bernie—beans that should have been spilled, cooked and devoured long ago?

Nah, the mainstream news media Big Boys don’t try to manipulate public opinion, the electorate and elections! How could you suggest such a thing?

  • It is remarkable, isn’t it, that the same party that has been exploiting the false accusation that the President had conspired with Russia to try to take him down is dominated by a man who openly admired the far more sinister and oppressive incarnation of the same nation?

To be fair, Sanders has been very quiet about “Russiagate.”  To be really fair, no wonder.

  • The existence of a Bernie Sanders as any kind of serious influence on national politics, not to mention a viable Presidential candidate, shows how negligent and incompetent those entrusted with our core ideals, values and institutions have been since Bernie’s honeymoon, allowing our educators, popular culture, scholars and opinion leaders to drift away from a belief in America and what it was designed to stand for, dragging our young along with them.

19 thoughts on “Ethics Observations On The Washington Post’s Hit Piece On Bernie Sanders

    • I’m surprised that he didn’t say “I’ve seen the future and it works!” Now I would add another word to describe Bernie besides lunatic which would be asshole.

  1. Harry Caray in the midst of a typical Cubs losing effort during the ’80s,”Can’t anybody on this team get a HIT???”

    Doesn’t anybody know what a red diaper baby is anymore?

    Newspapers have always despised Republicans, but i don’t recall them so actively and obviously playing favorites among Democratic candidates.

  2. Could you explain the difference between an opinion piece and “ethics observations”? This is not meant as a flippant sarcastic question but an honest inquiry. I used to listen to Everyday Ethics podcast but got frustrated with them for being more of a gripe session about topics than talking about ethics. I am getting similar thoughts with some of your posts as well. That being said, I may have a faulty view of what ethics should look like and would like to know your thoughts.

    • Well of course it’s an opinion piece. I have my own route to ethical analysis based on processes, standards, values and systems. The over-all ethics issues involved are 1) Sanders’ competence and judgment. Communists/socialists place ideology over history, freedom and reality; a persistent affection for Communism demonstrates antipathy to basic American values. Meanwhile, Sanders’ colleague who left articulated what was unethical about Sanders’ conduct. It’s a breach of loyalty. 2) The initial point after this is that it is impossible to trust the judgement of anyone who supports someone with Sanders’ record, history, and orientation. 3. Then there’s the matter of journalism ethics. This was essential background for voters, and the Post, or the rest of the media, failed their professional duty by not doing the kind of investigation of a candidate that is the reason why we have a free press. I ask why that was, and I offer a hypothesis. 4. Hillary’s failure to expose Bernie’s obvious baggage is suspicious, and again, if the idea was to use kid gloves on Bernie either as part of a deal—I could have mentioned here, as I did in 2016, that Bernie’s refusal to hammer at the e-mail issue was failure of zeal, and combined with Clinton’s neglect of Bernie’s record, is just more evidence suggesting how corrupt the nomination process was. 5. The news media’s job isn’t to manipulate public opinion by timing the publication of news and withholding it at other times, or, as seems likely in this case, picking off some candidates while going soft on others, or injecting itself into the Democratic nomination process.

      Those are all ethics issues. If you have innocent explanation for Bernie sucking up to Communists, for the Democratic party to allow its values to be warped by someone like that, for the Post to wait three years to tell the story of Bernie’s honeymoon, for the Post to choose now to do a hit piece on Bernie, by all means, show me where I’m wrong, unfair or mistaken. That’s what these post are for.

      All of that said, the tone of the Post was snarky, and more like a typical political blog in style than I ought to use. I am really sick of the Post’s conduct, and Bernie is absurd—his numbers don’t add up, his positions are irresponsible, and he has been allowed to keep spreading his junk while the media, the comedy shows, and pundits on the left all neglected their job, choosing instead to paint him as a cute oddball. I was indulging myself.

      I’ll be more careful. Point taken.

      • Hillary couldn’t expose this about Bernie Sanders’ past. Sanders would just rehash the Bill Clinton’s trip to the USSR and anti-American activities overseas. Maybe he would bring up all the money the Clintons made from advocating for foreign governments while Hillary was Secretary of State or Bill Clinton’s $500,000 speaking fee from a Putin-controlled bank. What about all the Haiti money that vanished? Where did the Clinton Foundation money go? Why did they have to refile taxes 4 times for 1 tax year after people found that single donors donated more money than they claimed total? Mutually assured destruction.

      • Thank you for your response. In ethics, the subject is what should be done. But every person has their own opinion of what should happen and can pontificate about it. What makes one’s opinion more ethical than another? How do we agree on a standard to use for ethics and have a helpful conversation?

        My father was a man of high integrity and faith. He lived his life as best he could to what he read in the Bible. He was a large influence to me and one of the reasons I became a pastor. He was very much about living according to a set standard of behavior. This interest in the topic and desire to be ethical was passed down to me. That is why I have been reading your blog for a while and enjoy it immensely. My post was not meant as a rebuke (I have little knowledge out of which to rebuke anyway). I am trying to better understand what you talk about as your own “route to ethical analysis based on processes, standards, values and systems.” Thanks again.

  3. I wonder how many times Bernie, or some of his supporters, opined that the various leftist objects of his admiration were “on the right side of history”?

    • During the Clinton years the far Left had supposedly learned the lessons of the 1960s (when they praised the Soviet Union and Red China) and “matured” past praising “social justice reformers” who all ended up being mass murderers and despots.

      And yet here it is all happening again. I don’t think they can really change. They don’t seem to realize that there is no socialist path that gets you to anything other than murderers and despots. Every “new” socialist superstar (before they actually get power and start doing things) seems so noble and pure to them.

  4. Oh, they don’t care about Joe either. He’s a means to an end for them. My guess is that they will nominate Good Ole Joe and hand him some nice Woke female (preferably a minority) as a running mate who will become President when Joe inevitably dies in office.

    It’s the only way right now to get one of them into the White House.

    • I can see a parallel to Sanders and the Democrats circa 1972. The swing left took temporary control of the party and handed the election to Nixon. Maybe a lesser example would be the Republicans swing right in 1964.

      I would love to see Sanders in the race just for the fun value of watching a cranky old socialist in full display.

      • Having watched Bernie during the recent FOX Town hall which had a significant number of his glassy eyed supporters present, Bernie handled tough questions pretty skillfully: He’s a master at changing the subject, downplaying the cost of his foolish proposals, and portraying himself as a well intention grandfatherly figure. I don’t think we’ll see his true colors until he has to debate with Biden or Trump.

        • Crafty Hillary wouldn’t go for the jugular in their debates, and this is part of my objection. It’s a dangerous game: we saw it in the GOP debates, where the two candidates who could have dismantled Trump, Christie and Cruz, didn’t for tactical reasons…thus letting Trump survive, and ultimately prevail.

  5. In the 1980s a ten-year-old girl from Maine named Samantha Smith wrote to Yuri Andropov, then leader of the Soviet Union, expressing typically naïve little girl thoughts, with a little bit of prompting from her parents:

    Dear Mr. Andropov,
    My name is Samantha Smith. I am ten years old. Congratulations on your new job. I have been worrying about Russia and the United States getting into a nuclear war. Are you going to vote to have a war or not? If you aren’t please tell me how you are going to help to not have a war. This question you do not have to answer, but I would like to know why you want to conquer the world or at least our country. God made the world for us to share and take care of. Not to fight over or have one group of people own it all. Please lets do what he wanted and have everybody be happy too.

    Samantha Smith

    Andropov surprisingly replied, and invited her to the USSR, supposedly to show her how the Soviets also wanted peace, but in reality so he could make propaganda hay out of her. Of course the left fawned all over her, and she was invited to all kinds of symposia, published a book about her travels (not a page turner, from what I hear) and generally was treated like some kind of angel of peace. She even suggested that the US and Soviet leaders exchange granddaughters for two weeks a year because a leader “wouldn’t want to send a bomb to a country his granddaughter would be visiting.” The thoughts of a naïve child, taken as some kind of revealed gospel of peace. Unfortunately she was killed at the age of 13 in a plane crash, and, for a while, the USSR taught that she was assassinated by the US government who feared she would take all the steam out of Reagan’s approach to the Cold War.

    Rightly, she has been relegated to the trash heap of history, one monument near the Maine State Museum that is falling into disrepair, a few other place names, that’s about it, and the writers on the right haven’t been afraid to dismiss her as the Soviet tool and useful idiot she let herself become.

    Samantha was ten years old. What’s Bernie’s excuse? If you put the information in the current editorial together with what had already been revealed during the 2016 campaign about his marginal life (driving a VW bug with wipers that didn’t work, getting his electricity turned off, failing miserably as a carpenter, his first wife ditching him after deciding that living in a maple sugar shack with a dirt floor wasn’t her thing) before being elected mayor of Burlington ( a “city” of under 40,000 at the time) by a margin of ten votes, you should be really clear on what he’s all about. Bernie Sanders is basically a bum who caught a break. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time as Vermont was starting to change from solid rural Republican enclave to the wackadoo place populated by aging hippies it is now, and he just managed to persuade a few more people to vote for his socialist BS to put him over the top, then parlayed that. He sponsored precisely 2 bills that became law, and generally hasn’t been very effective on behalf of his constituents. About all he brings to the table is idealistic rhetoric. Yet the younger generation want to make him president and a lot of his following say he would have mopped the floor with Donald Trump. Apparently some of the powers that be in the Democratic Party have figured out that’s unlikely to happen and he’s likely to in fact lose the election badly. So now they drop this story into the current, in the hopes that it will make him drop. The one problem is that most of the young voters now weren’t even around for the Cold War or the Soviets. They aren’t concerned with history that, as far as they’re concerned, might as well be as far away as the Napoleonic Wars and slightly less relevant. They are very concerned with getting free stuff and being the “in” generation. Well, it’s not their time just yet, as they found out last time out. Let them run Bernie, if they think he can win. Let them run creaky, low-energy Joe if they think he can’t. If that’s the best they can do, then I don’t think it’s going to be enough.

    • She also appeared in a short-lived TV show with Robert Wagner!

      Samantha was too young to understand what being a pawn was. Her parents allowed her to be used as a political symbol. It’s their fault for letting her dabble in things that were too complicated for her to understand.

      The younger generation doesn’t know anything about the Soviet Union. Our son came out of high school with the belief that the only thing that differentiated us from them was that we disagreed about economic systems.

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