Sanders: Trump knows how to play the media

Where does Bernie Sanders stand?

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Bernie Sanders tries hard to go in depth on issues. So he’s not pleased that Donald Trump can get all the attention with a sound bite.

Then again, Trump, the Republican front-runner, does get lots of attention because he knows how to use the media, Sanders said.

"I think it has to do with the fact that Trump is very smart,” Sanders, currently trailing Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton in the presidential nominating race, told CNN’s “New Day” in an interview broadcast Thursday. “He knows that media is not so interested in the serious issues facing this country. They love bombastic remarks. They love silly remarks.”

And, Sanders said, "I think this is more of an indictment of the media than it is Trump."

Sanders trails Clinton nationally, 50 to 34 percent, in the latest CNN/ORC poll, taken December 17 to 21.

Sanders, a senator from Vermont, got into a lively discussion with CNN host Chris Cuomo. “Explain to me how he becomes number one," Sanders asked.

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Cuomo noted Trump helps the ratings. And, he said, “you can't just wipe off all this popularity that he has with a growing base of the GOP. They're putting him first in the polls not because of the media. They say they hate the media. They just love Trump."

Well sure, Trump is on top, Sanders conceded, but he’s also “very effectively playing to the fears and anxieties that millions of people in this country have – and have legitimately so.”

But then along comes Trump “and he says, 'I've got the solution. And what the solution is Mexicans coming to this country. Let's throw them all out. That will solve all our problems. It's Muslims. They're all terrorists. We have to hate them’...Well, that is not the solution to our problems. That is simply scapegoating minorities, playing one group off against one another. It's what demagogues have always done.”

David Lightman: 202-383-6101, @lightmandavid