John Stossel: Is Bernie Sanders building a digital media empire?

August 20, 2018 GMT

Sen. Bernie Sanders is all over the internet!

New York Magazine says he is “quietly building a digital media empire.”

Mic.com calls it “one of the most powerful progressive media outfits in America.”

This matters because bettors rank Sanders one of the top four Democratic presidential contenders.

I resent Sanders’ “empire” because it pushes bad ideas, yet his videos have been seen almost a billion times.

Some are just recordings of him making noisy speeches, ranting about how Republican policies hurt Americans. For example, “Tens of thousands of them will die” if Obamacare is repealed. (He ignores the fact that more will live if the economy is allowed to grow.)

Others are edited, produced pieces. One powerful one begins with a President Trump speech where the president recites the song “The Snake,” in which a woman nurses a snake back to health -- only to have it bite her. “You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in!” shouts the president. He was arguing against loose immigration controls.

But the video cuts to Trump calling criminals “animals,” and an “expert” says Trump is using “the same kind of language that the Nazis used.” The video never mentions that when Trump said “animals,” he was talking about MS-13.

A recurring Sanders video theme is that Trump supporters are “faces of greed” who scheme to get even richer by doing things like abolishing the estate tax. Sanders never mentions that the estate tax taxes money that had already been taxed; it’s double taxation. He could still argue against repealing it, but he ought to be fair.

Many Sanders videos demand that government make college free. His staff interview themselves.

Winn Decker, research intern for the Senate Budget Committee, whines, “Student loans kept me from doing things like purchase a home.”

Sanders staff assistant Terrel Champion tells viewers, “Somebody has to foot the bill. The government should assume that responsibility!”

There’s no mention of how existing government subsidies already raised the price of tuition, enabling it to grow faster than the rate of inflation. There’s also not a peep about how Sanders’ own wife bankrupted a college in Vermont.

It’s just: Government must pay more!

Government should take responsibility for your health care, too, says a Sanders video that describes MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi as a “Canadian capitalist” who says, “Nowhere on Earth is there a free health insurance market that works.” The video looks like a debate between Velshi and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, but it’s edited so that Jordon doesn’t get to say much. It’s easy to win an argument if you barely let the other guy speak.

Maybe the biggest theme of Sanders’ videos is the wealth gap, which Bernie says “is not only immoral (but) causes suffering for the working families (because) the poor are getting poorer.”

But that’s just wrong. The poor are not getting poorer. The wealth gap doesn’t cause suffering. Yes, rich people got richer, but the poor and middle class got richer, too. Sanders never acknowledges that.

Sanders posts a new economically ignorant video most every day. He says it would be “easy” to have free health care, free college, a living wage. How will it all be paid for? Simple. Raise taxes.

One Sanders video shows rich people shouting, “Tax me!” and “I should be paying more!” So pay more! No one’s stopping you. Just don’t demand that everyone else pay more.

Socialists think government is the solution to every problem. They also pretend that what government provides is free.

Sanders’ videos would be just a joke if millions didn’t watch.