Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the so-called “democratic socialist” running for president as a Democrat, made a surprise appearance on “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace. But there was no discussion of what “democratic socialism” is or how it may differ from the socialism, say, of the old Soviet Union. It was a blown opportunity to educate the American people about the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the largest socialist organization in the United States and the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International. Wallace also didn’t question Sanders about his volunteer work on a pro-Stalin Israeli kibbutz.
“For the first time since he announced his candidacy, Bernie Sanders will join Chris Wallace on ‘Fox News Sunday,’” Fox announced. But viewers were to be disappointed. Wallace went soft on the socialist because he wanted Sanders and Hillary Clinton to agree to debate on the Fox News Channel. Sanders did not commit. Sanders said, “…if I could have a guarantee and knew who the questioners were and if the framework for the debate was fair, I would have no objection.”
Wallace was more than “fair” in this interview, referring to Sanders only as “senator” and ignoring his commitment to so-called “democratic socialism,” whatever that may mean.
The assumption seems to be that “democratic socialism” has nothing to do with communism. But researcher Trevor Loudon notes that the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is a Marxist organization that draws heavily from the ideas of the late Italian Communist Party theoretician Antonio Gramsci. DSA has wished Karl Marx a “Happy Birthday” and offers “Introduction to Marxism” courses.
President Obama’s DSA support goes back at least to 1996, when he received the endorsement of the Chicago branch for an Illinois state senate seat. A video shows Obama campaigning for Senator Sanders.
Sanders is a collaborator, if not a member, of the DSA. He has spoken to the group, and the DSA backs him for president. Yet, the group has advised its members, “No one should organize a fundraiser [for Sanders] as DSA. You should not have DSA literature. You should not introduce yourself as a DSAer if you give remarks. You should not use a DSA list to invite people.”
The cover-ups don’t end there.
Sanders spent time on an Israeli kibbutz, or commune. “Sanders and his campaign staff have repeatedly—and somewhat inexplicably—declined to say which kibbutz” in Israel he volunteered on, The Washington Post said.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz disclosed that the kibbutz was called Shaar Haamakim. The Times of Israel followed up, noting that the commune belonged to an Israeli political party that had been a “communist, Soviet-affiliated faction” and that members “admired Joseph Stalin until his death” and celebrated May Day with “red flags.” Drawing upon these disclosures, Seth Lipsky wrote, “…for a man who wants to be the first Jewish president, Sanders certainly seems to be bent on avoiding the subject of the time he spent in Israel. Time for him to explain himself.”
Chris Wallace could have asked Sanders to explain himself. But that might have blown the chance to get Sanders and Hillary in a Fox News debate.
Wallace also did not ask Sanders about his atrocious handling of the Veterans Affairs (VA) scandal.
Another question that might be appropriate for Sanders is what he thinks about the more than 100 million people murdered by socialist governments.
We have previously noted that Sanders went on his honeymoon to the former USSR, supported the communist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua, and was a collaborator with the U.S. Peace Council—a Communist Party front—against the Reagan military build-up. Sanders also worked with the Venezuelan regime of Hugo Chavez to distribute Venezuelan oil in the U.S.
Alasdair Denvil of The Blaze asks, “Why Won’t the Media Ask Bernie Sanders About Venezuela?” He notes that the country has one of the worst economies on the planet. The inflation rate could hit 720 percent this year and the country could default on its debt.
Sanders has called for a tax on Wall Street, known as a financial transaction tax (FTT), to pay for the free college education he’s proposing for students. But such a tax would affect the more than 90 million Americans who invest in mutual funds.
Paul Schott Stevens, president and CEO of the Investment Company Institute (ICI)—the national association of U.S. investment companies—says that an FTT would harm all investors, especially American workers saving for retirement.
Wallace, of “Fox News Sunday,” did question Sanders about the true cost of his “Medicare for All” single-payer health care plan. He noted that Kenneth E. Thorpe of Emory University says the Sanders plan is underfinanced by nearly $1.1 trillion per year. Hillary Clinton had cited Thorpe’s study to attack Sanders’ proposal in the February 4 Democratic debate. Sanders told Wallace that he rejected Thorpe’s analysis.
When Wallace noted that “the problems with your plan are exactly the reason that your own state of Vermont had to drop single payer,” Sanders had no specific response and attacked Thorpe again. But the liberal Boston Globe reported that the plan failed because it cost too much. The paper noted, “[Vermont] Governor Peter Shumlin released a financial report that showed the cost of the program would nearly double the size of the state’s budget in the first year alone and require large tax increases for residents and businesses. Shumlin, a Democrat and long-time single-payer advocate, said he would not seek funding for the law, effectively tabling the program called Green Mountain Care.”
Wallace moved on to his plea for a Sanders-Clinton Fox News debate, saying, “Finally, sir, the Republicans have held debates on all the networks, but the Democrats, so far, have refused to hold a debate on Fox. You are coming on here tonight. We’re very grateful. I hope you feel that you haven’t been mistreated. Would you be willing to participate in a Democratic debate on Fox News?”
That is really embarrassing. “I hope you feel that you haven’t been mistreated” is not the mark of a journalist willing to ask tough questions.
Sanders seemed pleased with his treatment, but said, “Well, I have seen this interview—Chris, I have seen this interview, but I have also seen other interviews (emphasis added).” This is when he added his qualifications: “So if I could have a guarantee and knew who the questioners were and if the framework for the debate was fair, I would have no objection.”
This is one “democratic socialist” who is clearly afraid of the truth coming out. Fox News should stop groveling, and start grilling the socialist.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected].