Pro-Russia and Pro-Racism: A Look at Bernie Sanders's Latest Hires

Bernie Sanders, champion of American working class and fearsome opponent of the billionaire class, has just hired his campaign's national press secretary from a billionaire-funded, Breitbart-like media organization. Bernie Sanders, civil rights hero, has hired a communications advisor who once called Trayvon Martin a terrorist and likened President Obama to the vigilante who gunned down Trayvon.

When Alex Seitz-Wald reported the story, I decided that a little dive was warranted in Sanders's choices. Although his hires represent pefect tokenism - one black woman and a white man - the choice of Briahna Joy Gray of The Intercept and David Sirota also represent another perfect duet for Bernie: racism and Russian puppetry.

Briahna Joy Gray and The Intercept

Briahna Joy Gray comes from The Intercept, a project of the notorious champion of Russian electoral invasion, Glenn Greenwald. In fact, The Intercept was started in the immediate aftermath of Putin giving shelter and refuge to the American fugitive Edward Snowden. The Intercept is also a project of First Look Media, a conglomerate founded and funded by EBay founder and deca-billionaire Pierre Omidyar.

From the beginning, The Intercept has been on a mission to attack US foreign policy - and to be sure, there is plenty in US foreign policy to be critiqued - and domestic policy while conspicuously ignoring Russia's imperialism, human rights violations, and press crackdowns. The Intercept so consistently and virulently denies the effects of Russia's invasion of the 2016 US elections that it is hard to tell their coverage apart from Fox News’s or Breitbart’s.

One thing The Intercept does not do, despite ostensibly being dedicated to it, is journalism. A former investigative journalist at The Intercept's parent site First Look Media, Ken Silverstein, penned an op-ed in Politico in 2015, shortly after his departure, calling his former employer the place "where journalism goes to die." Silverstein worked on multiple projects from First Look Media, one of which is The Intercept. With an initial investment of $50 million and more to come from its benefactor billionaire, Silverstein had high hopes for investigative journalism but quickly found that along Omidyar, top attractions Greenwald, and Jeremy Scahill were "shockingly disinterested in the actual journalism."

Aside from corporate mismanagement, First Look Media and The Intercept are invested in beating up on and tearing down American institutions. When Silverstein and a colleague investigated a murder trial to find that the trial had actually been conducted fairly and without prosecutorial misconduct, Scahill and Greenwald - neither of whom were editors at the time - lashed out and tried to block publication of the story. Heck, Scahill even threatened to quit over it. Says Silverstein,
“I came to realize that the system working correctly—and the right people going to jail—isn’t a good narrative to tell at The Intercept.”
The Intercept is also essentially state media for Bernie Sanders, and their adoration for Sanders can easily put Fox News's Trump-worshipping to shame. We are not talking advocacy "journalism" here; we're talking full-on Berniebro central: attacking the Senators' Democratic opponents, bashing the Democratic party, frothing about the "establishment" - The Intercept has it all.

And this isn't guilt by association. Briahna Joy Gray has herself minimized and ridiculed the Russian targeting of African American voters in 2016, called Bernie's overwhelming white following a "pundit problem", and even defended Sanders's claim that people who voted against black candidates because of the blackness of said candidates aren't racist. If Gray and the Sanders campaign believe that her being a black woman makes these things less of a problem, they are wrong.

But you can see why Bernie Sanders would hire Gray. Gray is the Left-wing equivalent of Sarah Sanders. Like Trump's press secretary would for her boss, Gray has already proven her ability to defend her new boss at all costs - even at the cost of defending blatant racism.

So let's get to David Sirota.

David Sirota

David Sirota, Sanders's new speechwriter, rose to notoriety during the Obama years by consistently attacking President Obama with knife-edge, virulent, racist language. Sirota also ingratiated himself to Russia's quest for global dominance with his 2013 fluff piece on the then-Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, crediting Chavez for an "economic miracle" in Venezuela. Venezuela's temporary rise, however, turned out a result of inflated oil prices in the immediate aftermath of the global Great Recession.

Almost as if to mock Sirota, the Venezuelan economy tanked later that very year, and has been shrinking by double digits ever since, with 87% of Venezuelans now living in poverty.

Remember, it appears that Bernie Sanders requires two qualifications for people in his press shop: other than being Putin-friendly, Bernie's hires must also distinguish themselves in their racial insensitivity.

Don't worry. Sirota has got that in droves. Instead of going into a myriad of examples, however, I will demonstrate with just one. In the aftermath of the tragic murder of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of his killer, Sirota penned an article on Salon that horrifyingly analogized the gunning down of an innocent black child with the American fight against terrorist targets under President Obama. He equated Trayvon Martin's killer, George Zimmerman to President Obama, who, argued Sirota, also didn't wait for a court order before taking out self-declared terrorists like Anwar Al-Awlaki. By implication, he not only likened Zimmerman to President Obama, Sirota also linked Trayvon with terrorists who had openly declared war against the United States.

As I observed at the time, Sirota was skillfully associating a black youth with terrorists and a black president with a violent vigilante.

Pro-Russia, check. Pro-racism, check. Welcome to Team Bernie!

At least, Sirota is on Sanders's payroll directly this time, rather than fronting for him by attacking his opponents without disclosing that he used to be a paid staffer. So I guess that's an improvement.

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