The reporter on the NYT's Bernie Sanders beat consistently fails to identify her sources as corporate lobbyists

Sydney Ember is a news reporter who covers Bernie Sanders for the New York Times; her coverage is consistently negative (part of the Times's overall pattern of negative reporting on Sanders, including "stealth edits" to make its coverage less positive, to the dismay of the paper's public editor).

Ember's negative reporting on Sanders might be the result of her deep connections to the finance world: she came to the Times after a career as an analyst at the coal-boosting hedge fund Blackrock and she's married to Mike Bechek, son of the former CEO of Bain & Company, where he also worked.

FAIR's Katie Halper has dug deep into Ember's network of go-to sources for quotes on why no one should vote for Sanders, showing that they are drawn from the ranks of the finance and corporate lobbyist world. Ember quotes the likes of:

* Jim Kessler, identified by Ember as "executive vice president for Policy at Third Way, a center-left think tank" (Third Way is a pro-austerity thinktank whose board is overwhelmingly made up of CEOs, bankers and corporate lawyers; it advocates for cuts to Social Security and Medicare and opposes higher taxes for billionaires);

* Otto J. Reich, a central figure in the Iran-Contra scandal, who was quoted in a piece condemning Sanders for his opposition to Reagan's secret arming of death-squads that brought down Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega with a campaign of rape, torture and murder;

* Jarrod Loadholt, whom Ember calls "a Democratic strategist who has worked on education policy in South Carolina" -- Loadholt is a consumer finance lobbyist who has worked to roll back Dodd/Frank, supporting a bill that would make it easier for banks to practice racial discrimination.

* Mary Anne Marsh, whom Ember calls "a Democratic strategist in Boston who worked for Senators Senators John Kerry and Edward M. Kennedy" -- but Ember doesn't mention that Marsh is principal at the Dewey Square Group, lobbying for Allegiance Healthcare Corporation, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Coca-Cola, Collegiate Funding Services, Countrywide Mortgage, DuPont, General Motors Corporation, Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA), Mortgage Insurance Companies of America, Purdue Pharma, Starbucks, United Health Group, the US Chamber of Commerce (hired to lobby for caps on damages corporations pay when they are sued by customers), the National Restaurant Association (hired to lobby to make it harder for restaurant workers unionize) and Fix the Debt (hired to lobby for cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security).

* Tracy Sefl, whom Ember calls "a veteran Democratic strategist" -- but Ember doesn't mention that Sefl was a "surrogate and senior advisor for Hillary Clinton" who worked extensively with The Drudge Report on Clinton's behalf, and was "a hired gun at a Republican-led firm Navigators Global."

These omissions are unique to Ember; other reporters (including other reporters at the New York Times) who quote these sources are at pains to identify their corporate affiliations and their checkered histories. In the mainstream press, Ember is the only writer who consistently seeks quotes from corporate lobbyists, war criminals, and far-right figures to discredit Sanders without disclosing their affiliations.

Her career as a lobbyist for many of the industries that would be most impacted by Sanders’ proposals might explain Marsh’s obvious animus against the candidate, as displayed in the May 20 edition of her weekly Fox News column, “Bernie Sanders’ Incredible Shrinking Candidacy—Why He Won’t Be Dem Nominee.” One of Sanders’ apparent insurmountable weaknesses, she wrote, is that people “remember Sanders didn’t support Clinton in the general election against Trump.” People with better memories recall that Sanders was one of the most energetic surrogates for Clinton on the campaign trail, campaigning constantly for her in battleground states (New Yorker, 11/4/16).

Marsh is right when she says that “most Democrats running don’t subscribe to Bernie Sanders’s democratic socialism,” which is why he’s seen as a unique threat to those who promote rapacious profiteering in the areas of finance, health care, education and the military. Third Way made that clear, once again, at a conference they held last week, where its co-founder Matt Bennett singled out Sanders’ vision from his opponents’: “One is a Democratic capitalist narrative…. The other is a socialist narrative,” notably omitting the “Democratic” descriptor for the latter.

By presenting her sources as objective authorities, instead of paid lobbyists and austerity ideologues, Ember both conceals and advances their agenda, undermining the integrity of the Fourth Estate, our democracy, and one of the most popular politicians.

Sydney Ember’s Secret Sources [Katie Halper/FAIR]

(Image: Bern the White House)

(via Naked Capitalism)