Americans increasingly receive their news from different sources. Conservatives refuse to accept the moral authority of traditionally dominant news outlets. Cases like this explain why.
On June 15, 2015, the New York Times wrote a breathless expose on the driving record of Marco and Jeanette Rubio (“A review of records dating back to 1997 shows that the couple had a combined 17 citations: Mr. Rubio with four and his wife with 13.”) Three reporters were credited with researching and writing the story. A separate interactive feature appears on their website where you can see the traffic tickets for yourself. Most people at the time saw it for what it was: a total non-issue.
Less than six months later, a complaint was filed with the U.S. Attorney for Vermont, including a dozen documents and six exhibits, alleging that Jane Sanders, president of Burlington College and wife of Bernie Sanders, had fraudulently obtained a 10 million dollar loan for the school. Specifically, it alleged that she had falsely claimed that she had 5 million dollars in “likely” pledges and 2.4 million dollars in solid pledges to repay the loan.
The school couldn’t make its payments, and Burlington College folded, leaving lenders, students, and staff out to dry.
The FBI launched an investigation, sending agents to Burlington College. Hard drives were copied, records were examined, and witnesses were interviewed as Bernie and Hillary fought for the Democratic nomination for president.
As POLITICO Magazine put it: “Reporters, mesmerized by the rumpled Vermont senator’s razor-thin margin in Iowa and crushing defeat of Clinton in New Hampshire, ignored the letter. The allegations got no traction on the trail.”
Shortly thereafter, a second letter claimed that Senator Bernie Sanders had used his office to pressure the bank to issue the loan. This too was ignored in the press.
If you think a husband and wife getting 17 civil traffic tickets over 18 years is a more serious accusation than a fraudulent 10 million dollar loan, possibly secured with improper influence by a senator, that bankrupted a college, then okay. But for everyone else, what besides an improper bias could account for the attention given to one but not the other?