March 21, 2020


The online news outlet Axios on Wednesday published a bombshell news story: Bernie Sanders, reporter Alexi McCammond wrote, was suspending his presidential campaign.

“It’s an end to the campaign of the leading progressive in the race—and the candidate who seemed to be the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination less than a month ago,” the report stated.

The only problem: It wasn’t true. And this wasn’t a run-of-the mill error, but a miscue on arguably the most anticipated (and inevitable) political story in the country.

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One imagines that an error of the same magnitude from a conservative reportorial outlet would not be treated with the same level of understanding with which it was received by Axios’s mainstream media counterparts. Media reporters at the country’s top newspapers didn’t muster a tweet about the incident. Mediaite, an online publication devoted to covering print, digital, and television media, covered the story this way: “Bernie Sanders Swats Down ‘Absolutely False’ Report Claiming End of Campaign After Twitter Frenzy.”

The incident reveals the insidious way in which the mainstream media, which have spent the past three years obsessing about the spread of fake news, operate like a cartel, ruthlessly enforcing standards on outsiders but refusing to police themselves.

Flashback: Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw Defend Dan Rather Who Sees Effort to “Smear” Him.

Related: HBO’s After Truth Perfectly Captures Why Journalism is Dying.

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