News & Politics

Isn't It Time the Media Started Asking Hard Questions About Bernie Sanders' Rape Fantasy Essay?

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

In 1972, Bernie Sanders wrote an essay titled, “Man — and Woman” in the Vermont Freeman, a now-defunct publication, with some really bizarre ideas in it. It originally came to light during his previous presidential campaign, when Mother Jones published a scan of the essay on May 26, 2015.

Here’s how the essay begins:

A man goes home and masturbates his typical fantasy. A woman on her knees, a woman tied up, a woman abused.

A woman enjoys intercourse with her man — as she fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously.

The man and woman get dressed up on Sunday — and go to Church, or maybe to their “revolutionary” political meeting.

Have you ever looked at the Stag, Man, Hero, Tough magazines on the shelf of your local bookstore? Do you know why the newspaper with the articles like “Girl 12 raped by 14 men” sell so well? To what in us are they appealing?

As crazy as this sounds, it’s very much real. Bernie Sanders, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, wrote those words.

Scan of Vermont Freeman via Mother Jones.

One would think this would have ended his campaign and his presidential ambitions, but nope, as the Washington Examiner noted, the media was largely silent about the essay, until conservative media started reporting on it forcing their hand:

CNN was quick to the story, with network contributors, including conservative columnist S. E. Cupp and Democratic strategist Steve McMahon, disagreeing Thursday over whether Sanders’ little known newspaper scribblings would do harm to his presidential campaign.

Fox News and MSNBC mostly ignored the essay Thursday and Friday.

On the print side of things, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post took a pass on the story. The New York Times didn’t address the essay until late Friday afternoon.

The New York Post and the New York Daily News, on the other hand, weren’t too far behind CNN, with the two newspapers publishing equally unflattering reports on the senator’s 43-year-old article.

BuzzFeed and Vox turned out brief write-ups of the story Thursday afternoon.

Some liberal sites, like Salon, even defended Sanders over the article.

But, things are different now. In 2015, Hillary Clinton was expected to be the Democratic nominee. In 2020, Bernie Sanders has just become the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.  Isn’t it about time that the media start talking about this very disturbing piece written by a then-30-year-old Sanders—an adult? Even the liberal media is worried about Sanders being the nominee, and things like this could be a liability for him in the general election the same way Bill Clinton’s approval ratings took a major hit in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Of course, one could argue that it’s a moot point, considering what little impact the Trump Access Hollywood tape controversy had on his election in 2016, but obviously, if the remaining Democrats want to take out Bernie Sanders, the time is now. They should be reminding Democratic voters about this essay and making Bernie Sanders explain what his 30-year-old self was thinking.

Will they? Probably not? For the several months that Joe Biden was the frontrunner, none of his competitors dared to go after him over his biggest weaknesses: his inappropriate behavior with women and his Ukraine conflicts of interest. They’ve shown themselves to fear whoever the frontrunner is at any time, and they generally feared Bernie before he was the frontrunner because they knew how energized and passionate his supporters are. But, if they really believe that Bernie Sanders is destined to lose against Trump, they’ve got to start whipping out the big guns. His rape fantasy essay is only the tip of the iceberg.

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Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis