Sanders: Difficult to discuss 'serious issues' in current media
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks What's behind the divisions over Biden's secretary of Labor? Young voters set turnout record, aiding Biden win MORE is lamenting that he had to take to the talk show circuit during his White House bid in attempts to discuss “serious issues.”

The famously private Vermont senator was a frequent guest on late-night and daytime talk shows while he was vying for the Democratic presidential nomination against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden to name longtime aide Blinken as secretary of State: report Understanding mixed results in Pennsylvania key to future elections What's behind the divisions over Biden's secretary of Labor? MORE, and again when he was supporting her bid.


“My major lament of the campaign is that media goes overboard to make sure that we do not have the kind of serious discussion we need,” Sanders said in an interview with GQ magazine published Tuesday, “and that it is kind of a little bit strange that you have to go on a comedy show in order to have five minutes to talk about serious issues.”

While Sanders praises shows such as “The Ellen Degeneres Show” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers” for the “enormous exposure” they gave his campaign, he said, “What does that say about American political culture, that you have to go on a comedy show? I'm old-fashioned, and I think that politics and public policy are serious issues that need serious discussion, and as a nation I think we need a revolution in media.”

“And that's beginning to happen in certain ways, to force discussion about the major issues facing our country, which media, corporate media, by definition are reluctant to do,” Sanders said in GQ’s December “Men of the Year” issue.

The 75-year-old lawmaker did acknowledge, however the spotlight that comedy can shine on a political cause.

“The good news, from a political point of view, is that having Larry David imitate you on ‘Saturday Night Live’ has a real political impact, no question about it,” Sanders said of the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” star, who had a recurring role on the sketch comedy show throughout the primary season.

Sanders also expressed admiration for one of his biggest and earliest celebrity supporters, Killer Mike, calling the rapper a “serious” and “extremely bright guy.”

When asked if someone had to explain to him who Killer Mike was, Sanders replied, “Yes, they did. The name got me a little bit nervous. But Killer Mike has never killed anybody. It’s just, he’s a killer rapper.”