If MSNBC wanted to tamp down criticism that its coverage has been skewed against Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), anchor Chuck Todd’s comments on Wednesday aren’t going to help.
Discussing the results of Tuesday night’s New Hampshire primary on MTP Daily, Democratic strategist Cornell Belcher argued that the early presidential primaries and caucuses don’t mean what they did a decade ago, prompting Todd to contend this year’s Iowa results had “an impact on Pete Buttigieg.”
“Well, did it?” Belcher wondered aloud. “Who is the frontrunner? Is he the frontrunner? He should not get the press of the frontrunner.”
With Belcher implying that Sanders—who won the popular vote in Iowa and finished first in the New Hampshire primary—was the leader of the Democratic field, Todd immediately jumped in.
“I don’t understand how Bernie is considered a frontrunner,” Todd exclaimed while shaking his head. “This is a guy that—more people showed up to the polls, highest turnout ever—and his percentage went down, not up. His total number went down, not up.”
“The new voters actually voted for Buttigieg and [Amy] Klobuchar,” former Hillary Clinton adviser Neera Tanden added, name-checking the second- and third-place finishers.
The MSNBC host was, for the record, comparing Sanders’ vote total during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, when it was a two-person race, to Tuesday’s election, which featured at 10 Democratic candidates on the ballot.
MSNBC has come under fire recently over a perceived anti-Sanders bent to its coverage. Todd himself was condemned by Sanders staffers earlier this week for citing a column by a conservative publication that compared the senator’s supporters to “brown shirts.”
One undecided New Hampshire Democratic voter, meanwhile, told MSNBC that she specifically voted for Sanders on Tuesday because of the network’s “completely cynical” coverage of him.