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Katrina Vanden Heuvel Slams Media For Obsessive Trump Coverage While Marginalizing Sanders

The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel took a whack at our corporate media for propping up the likes of bully Donald Trump, while continually portraying Bernie Sanders as unelectable.
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The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel took a whack at our corporate media for propping up the likes of bully Donald Trump, while continually portraying Bernie Sanders as unelectable. During a panel discussion on ABC's This Week, where regulars Matthew Dowd, Bloody Bill Kristol and Donna Brazile were debating whether or not Donald Trump is actually going to wind up being the Republican nominee for president in 2016, vanden Heuvel let the media have it for their part in promoting his dangerous, flame throwing candidacy.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The Republican nominee?

DOWD: The Republican nominee for president.

He leads nationally in every single poll for more than two months. He leads every single state, including favorite son states like Florida where he leads Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush is third. And any Republican that has lead for two months and lead every state has won the GOP nomination.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Bill Kristol, what do you think of that?

BILL KRISTOL, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Won't happen. Won't happen.

I mean, Trump has -- a, I think he's hit his ceiling of about 30 percent. You don't find much...

STEPHANOPOULOS: A pretty high ceiling in a big field.

KRISTOL: Absolutely. And he deserves a lot of credit, for running a very clever campaign and mostly for showing how unhappy everyone is with the Republican establishment, and unfortunately I think some of the rest of the field. But I do think we're at peak Trump. Of course, I said this about six weeks ago.

It's a little premature. You how sometimes you say the market bubble is going to burst and then the stock market goes up another 100 percent, so maybe peak Trump will last for another two or three weeks, but I don't...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Here is the part that has also mystified so many, Donna Brazile, and I'll put this question to you and let everybody comment as well: the rise of Ben Carson, now second to Donald Trump in Iowa -- at least in Iowa, some polls in New Hampshire as well. Surging nationally. What is the source of his appeal?


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DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Slow, steady without the swagger of Donald Trump, he's the candidate that knows how to speak in this really module conservative tone. He's convinced not just his supporters, but I think many in the establishment that if Donald Trump is to come down, I don't think he's going to come down easily, the only person who could possibly take him down is a guy who is running what I call a traditionally Republican campaign.

He's drawing large crowds. He's also converting people from being what I call crowd pleasers to folks who will go and stand up with him at the caucus.

So, Ben Carson is someone we should not laugh at.

KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL, THE NATION: Here's a shocker, we are living in anti-establishment times. Who knew we would be sitting here September 6 looking at this landscape. This is a time you don't want to make predictions. It is a fluid rewrite the rules time.

Now, this has been summer of Trump, but I think the media has done a great disservice to this country: wall to wall coverage of a bully. And has virtually ignored Bernie Sanders who is today -- but why, it's wall-to-wall coverage, wall-to-wall. It is free air time. It is obsessive. And I think in that it is a disservice. And gatekeepers are defining what is viable.

Bernie Sanders is a serious candidate with serious issues. He is today first in New Hampshire, closing in on Iowa, but too many are saying he's not viable. And I say Americans should be trusted and don't have a downsize policy. Include an alternative...

STEPHANOPOULOS: We'll talk about the Democrats more in a second.

DOWD: I think two things. Obviously the media has covered this because there's a huge entertainment value in Donald Trump, that's absolutely true. But there's two things about it. First, in outside, we expected, I expected an outsider to really emerge in this race. If you look at 2000, we forget that Steve Forbes, Alan Keyes and Gary Bauer got 54 percent in 2000. And it's only increased since then.

The second thing, and one of the reasons why I think the media covers Trump, is that the American public -- and especially a bunch of Republicans -- are looking for somebody big, bold, and they don't want small. And the problem with all the other Republicans is that they seem small compared to Donald Trump.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And I wonder if that means, to pick up on Matt's point, Bill Kristol, is that Donald Trump will start to fall only if he gets boring.

KRISTOL: Oh, well I think if other candidates step up.

Look, we did a poll of Weekly Standard readers, essentially only 15 percent are for Trump and he has very few second and third choices. So, our readers are not that pro-Trump.

But then we also asked, a straw poll, asked them are you happy or unhappy that Trump is in the race. 64 percent happy he's in the race.

I think some of that Trump number right now is people happy he's shaking things up and they're not going to vote for him.

I think there are three outsiders running, right, Trump who I do not believe can be the nominee, Ben Carson who I think ultimately be the nominee, Carly Fiorina is actually one of the three outsiders who I think is a plausible presidential nominee. And I think -- well, why not? Why not? She is actually a serious person.

VANDEN HEUVEL: I want to come back to what Matt said, because what is big? What is big in American politics? A billionaire bully beating up on poor immigrants? I mean, that's not my idea of big.

I will predict Trump will never become boring, but I think he's reached his limit. And I think with all due respect to Donna, Ben Carson is quiet. He's a certified extremist. He wants to bomb immigrants...

(CROSSTALK)

DOWD: When I make a prediction on where the thing is standing, it's not that I believe he should be, it's just where are the American public and the GOP voters are now. And this idea right now that Trump has a lid, you look at the two way to put Trump against another Republican, he beats every other Republican and in some cases he's over 60 percent of the vote of Republican voters.

He does not have the lid people think right now. But I think in the end, time is Trump's greatest enemy. He has to keep this going for five more months.

BRAZILE: Well, first of all, I'm not a Ben Carson supporter...

(LAUGHTER)

BRAZILE: I don't want to go home and somebody get a cardiologist for me. But, Donald Trump has rewritten the old playbook where during this period of time the candidates are out raising the money, raising their profile, attending fundraisers. Donald Trump has nothing but time on his hands to come on shows.

STEPHANOPOULOS: A lot of money as well.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Free media. Wall-to-wall.

The only thing they like almost as much as Trump is chasing after Clinton's supposed email "scandals." Free media is right and they're all guilty of it.

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