Washington Post editor calls Sanders claim about campaign coverage a 'conspiracy theory'

The executive editor of The Washington Post late Monday fired back after Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGloves come off as Democrats fight for House seat in California Senate Democrats pump brakes on new stimulus checks The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Unemployment claims now at 41 million with 2.1 million more added to rolls; Topeka mayor says cities don't have enough tests for minorities and homeless communities MORE (I-Vt.) suggested that the newspaper negatively covers his presidential campaign because he criticizes its owner, Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosHillicon Valley: Facebook permanently shifting thousands of jobs to remote work | Congressional action on driverless cars hits speed bump during pandemic | Republicans grill TikTok over data privacy concerns Largest tech company CEOs made billions amid pandemic How the latest X-37B mission may change the world MORE.

"Sen. Sanders is a member of a large club of politicians — of every ideology — who complain about their coverage,” Marty Baron said in a statement to CNN. “Contrary to the conspiracy theory the senator seems to favor, Jeff Bezos allows our newsroom to operate with full independence, as our reporters and editors can attest.”

Baron’s response came after Sanders knocked Bezos, who also owns Amazon, during a campaign speech in Wolfeboro, N.H.

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"I talk about [Amazon's taxes] all of the time," Sanders said. "And then I wonder why The Washington Post, which is owned by Jeff Bezos, who owns Amazon, doesn't write particularly good articles about me. I don't know why."

Bezos bought the newspaper in 2013 for $250 million and has since faced criticism from a variety of politicians including President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation Stocks open mixed ahead of Trump briefing on China The island that can save America MORE, who has dubbed the paper “The Amazon Washington Post.”

Baron told The New York Times earlier this year that Bezos has never gotten involved in the newspaper’s reporting or final stories. 

“People surmise that it must be difficult to cover Jeff and Amazon. But we’ve gone five and a half years with his ownership, and he hasn’t once intervened in any way,” Baron said.

Sanders and his campaign have begun arguing recently that a variety of news outlets, including the Post and the Times, are biased in their coverage of his 2020 White House bid. 

"We have pointed out over and over again that Amazon made $10 billion in profits last year. You know how much they paid in taxes? You got it, zero! Any wonder why The Washington Post is not one of my great supporters, I wonder why?" Sanders said in North Conway, N.H., on Monday night, according to CNN.

"New York Times not much better," he added. 

Top advisers to the Vermont senator’s campaign on a Monday phone call with reporters argued that Sanders has been making ground in the crowded Democratic primary field, despite headlines. 

“We’re sort of in the phase called the ‘Bernie write-off,’” said senior adviser Jeff Weaver. “There seems to be a direct correlation between the media coverage of the polls and Bernie Sanders’s standing in those polls.”

The comments came days after a Monmouth University poll of likely Democratic Iowa caucusgoers showed Sanders slipping into fourth place. That same survey found Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenCOVID-19 workplace complaints surge; unions rip administration Gloves come off as Democrats fight for House seat in California Police killing in Minneapolis puts new scrutiny on Biden pick MORE (D-Mass.) rising to second place, behind former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden campaign cancels fundraiser with Mueller prosecutor Twitter joins Democrats to boost mail-in voting — here's why The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation MORE. Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisMinneapolis erupts for third night, as protests spread, Trump vows retaliation The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation Police killing in Minneapolis puts new scrutiny on Biden pick MORE (D-Calif.) nabbed third place in the survey.