MSNBC’s resident establishment troll Joy Ann Reid dug herself into a hole this week after she made an outrageous claim on Twitter that Bernie Sanders is sexist, and cited his wife, Jane, as evidence.
“Um… I get that he has a hardcore following, but his own attitudes toward women, from his weird early writings to his physical dismissal of women in his presence (including his own wife) make that an incredibly dubious prospect,” Reid tweeted in response to a Twitter user who cited Bernie Sanders as an example of a respected man who hasn’t been tainted by the movement to expose sexual harassers and misogynists in the political, media, and entertainment industries.
Jane Sanders tweeted in response to Reid, “I didn’t answer your biased reporting about Bernie during the last 2 years @JoyAnnReid. But don’t ever use me to demean my husband. I am very happy & very proud to be Bernie’s wife. Your perception couldn’t be more wrong. Have you ever talked with him? You’ve never spoken w/me.”
Reid initially ignored Sanders’ tweet, refusing to delete her initial claim, apologize, or retract it as Jane Sanders’ response went viral and several media outlets covered the exchange. It wasn’t until the Young Turks ran a story on it that Reid responded, only to double down on the attack.
She has since deleted the first tweet, that cites a far-right conservative news website as evidence.
Her second tweet is left up, where she tries to frame her claim that Bernie Sanders was sexist toward his wife as an “implied defense of Jane.” The video in the tweet, posted by a Clinton supporter, claims to show “Bernie Being a Dick to His Wife.”
The video depicts an awkward stage exit of Jane Sanders leaving the podium during a Bernie Sanders campaign rally, a far cry from an example of misogyny. This video and deliberately misconstruing a 1972 essay Sanders wrote for an alternative publication on gender stereotypes is the only evidence Reid and other critics have cited in calling Sanders sexist.
This lack of any direct evidence is precisely why the Bernie Bros narrative during the primaries had to try to stereotype Sanders’s supporters as sexists, without providing anything to back that up. Yet the same group of Clinton supporters making these hyperbolic claims have excused Bill Clinton’s lost list of sexual harassment, and sexual assault allegations — which Hillary Clinton has dismissed as “bimbo eruptions,” including an $850,000 settlement with Paula Jones.
Relying on innuendo, smears, and hyper-partisan assumptions has long been Reid’s modus operandi. Indeed, she severely criticized Hillary Clinton in 2008, back when she was pro-Obama, calling her “insane” and “the candidate of white racists.” Between 2007 to 2009, Reid posted several homophobic items about Florida Governor Charlie Crist, referring to him as “Miss Charlie” and predicating her criticism of him on her assumption that he was gay.
In 2010, Reid had called Bernie Sanders “the great clarion voice in the Democratic Party.” But after he began challenging the Democratic Party, and the weak policies it has put up over the prior decade, Reid began to paint Sanders as a political opponent of the the elite political and media status quo, of which she had become a part. By now, Reid has a long record of fabricating smears against progressives, which reflects her current fan base of Clinton and establishment loyalists.
Reid continuously criticized Sanders throughout the 2016 Democratic primaries, not on policy, but on baseless partisan assumptions. She framed protesters outside a Clinton fundraiser at George Clooney’s house as sexist for throwing dollar bills at the protest, which was actually a reference to the event’s nearly $500,000 ticket price. She even profiled Al Giordano, and helped elevate this lunatic as a respectable Sanders critic, who Clinton supporters follow en masse to this day.
Since the 2016 election, Reid has helped push the term “alt-left,” which emboldened the far-right and tried to conflate progressives with Koch-funded Tea Party Republicans. Last month, she wrote an error filled op-ed for the Daily Beast trying to water down claims made by former DNC Interim Chair Donna Brazile in her memoir, Hacks.
At the same time, she ignores important issues. For example, Reid never covered the Dakota Access Pipeline, favored the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement despite its pro-corporate provisions, never mentioned Keystone XL pipeline until this year when she could criticize Trump or Russia around the issue, ignores wealth and income inequality, reduces the flood of wealthy campaign donors to a necessary, inescapable reality, and has pushed the myth of “compassionate capitalism” as a viable political solution.
Her recent invocation of Bernie Sanders as sexist is a propaganda narrative that has evolved from the Bernie Bros days of the primaries. It’s another symptom of her toxic brand of political analysis, that favors “entertainment” and sensationalism over the discussion of policies and issues.