Bernie Sanders and Media Double Standards

In a piece at libertylawsite  called “The Wackiness of Evil,” Greg Weiner objects to the media’s casual and light-hearted treatment of Bernie Sanders’ sympathetic attitude towards communism:

That wacky Bernie Sanders, as his groupies would have it—daft, even, with the tousled hair and the professed socialism. Why, back in 1987, he even honeymooned in the Soviet Union.

Missing, generally, from these portraits of Sanders as the oddball patron of hopeless causes is the detail of Soviet communism’s butcher’s bill: 20 million lives sacrificed to, which is to say “by,” the regime with which he cavorted in his eccentricity.

In the province where Sanders enjoyed what he called a “very strange” honeymoon, Yaroslavl, for example, the Bolshevik secret police had in 1919 boasted of terrorizing an uprising into submission. The Black Book of Communism excerpts the police report: “The families of the deserters have been taken as hostages. When we started to shoot one person from each family, the Greens began to come out of the woods and surrender. Thirty-four deserters were shot as an example.” There is no record of Sanders having laid a wreath.

Like New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who honeymooned in Castro’s Cuba…Sanders also visited Havana, hoping to meet the tyrant. Alas, the Lord Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, was only granted an audience with the Mayor of Havana.

Media portrayals that fail to take such episodes seriously reflect the double standard that, a generation after the Berlin Wall’s demise, still refuses to acknowledge communism’s evil….

Totalitarian communism and National Socialism were the twin evils of the 20th century. Yet as the journalist Michael Kelly noted in the late 1990s, the intelligentsia takes only one of them seriously. Had any candidate for the Presidency indulged in a youthful fling with Nazi sympathizers, he would be immediately disqualified. Sanders’ dalliance with Soviet communists, in the full blossom of adult responsibilities, not only escapes serious attention, it renders him colorful.

Jon Guze / Director of Legal Studies

Jon Guze is the Director of Legal Studies at the John Locke Foundation. Before joining the John Locke Foundation, Jon practiced law in Durham, North Carolina for over twent...

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