Mainstream news media is killing itself with its unbelievable, biased coverage of the Democratic primaries; particularly Bernie Sanders’ campaign.
The United States has not seen a populist rise in the presidential race since FDR won in 1932. And yet mainstream networks such as CNN largely ignore the vast impact Bernie Sanders has already had on politics in the last year since he announced his candidacy.
Instead, the mainstream media brushes him off as a pie-in-the-sky dreamer who would never get anything accomplished, despite Sanders’ history as being effective at reaching compromises from both sides of the aisle. The fact is, standard news is increasingly the domain of older audiences, whereas online news like The Young Turks on YouTube have millions of daily viewers.
When Sanders gave a speech after Super Tuesday 3 on March 15, CNN instead had a camera trained on an empty podium waiting for Donald Trump to speak. In an interview with CNN’s Brian Stelter, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! blasted major networks for ignoring Sanders.
“Let’s look at Super Tuesday 3; you had major coverage here at CNN, at MSNBC, at Fox… You see the concession speeches and the great victory speeches. You see Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Kasich, you see Donald Trump. You’re waiting here at CNN, at MSNBC. They said he’s going to hold a news conference … and that’s it. Where was Bernie Sanders? Well, in fact, Bernie Sanders is in Phoenix, Arizona, before thousands of people and networks were waiting for Donald Trump…they don’t even say that Bernie sanders is about to speak.”
Goodman also noted that CNN did not record Sanders’ Phoenix speech.
“This time, they didn’t even record and show after Bernie Sanders. He was completely absent.”
That isn’t the only time CNN and mainstream media have ignored or misrepresented Bernie Sanders.
Take last Thursday’s debate, colloquially billed the “Brooklyn Brawl” by some. CNN declared Hillary Clinton the winner with an A- score. The same writer gave Bernie Sanders a D-.
Todd Graham, who authored the piece, acknowledged Clinton’s “terrible answer” for why she won’t release her Goldman Sachs speech transcripts. He also noted she still interrupts too much. However, Graham praised her for her “strong performance” and dominance during the last portion of the debate, especially when she asserted that not one moderator had ever asked either candidate about Roe v. Wade, ignoring her deft pivot from the original question regarding Supreme Court appointments.
Graham then hit Sanders by saying “he had nothing new.” He questioned the Vermont senator’s lack of specifics while giving Clinton a pass doing the same. The fact that Graham criticized Sanders for repeating his political platform is disingenuous. What Bernie is doing is called “staying on message,” which is a stark contrast to Clinton, who has a nasty habit of flip-flopping when it’s convenient.
One of Sanders’ foreign policy advisers is Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, who is a senior UN advisor, among other things. In stories on mainstream news sites, he is listed merely as an advisor, and Sanders is blasted for having no foreign policy experience.
Sanders was criticized as not knowing enough about economics regarding breaking up big banks. Soon after, William K. Black joined his campaign. Black was a key figure in exposing and prosecuting top players in the savings and loan crisis that occurred in the 1980s and 1990s.
Yet not a single mainstream news outlet reported Black’s new role in the Sanders campaign, and a quick search for news on the new development offers only alternative internet-based stories, including this writer’s piece announcing Black’s addition last week. Black also announced the news himself in a blog post on New Economic Perspectives on April 7.
Other online sites that reported the news of Black’s new role in Sanders’ campaign include The Young Turks Network, Reddit, and various other sites and forums around the Internet. None of the mainstream news networks reported this, which is arguably a major Sanders campaign development. Thus, it becomes painfully obvious that mainstream media no longer reports news stories that are actually newsworthy. Mainstream news media reports stories that benefit own agendas, in this case, electing a certain candidate.
During the Brooklyn debate, moderators attempted to get Clinton to answer questions regarding the transcripts. She dodged those questions. The moderators challenged Bernie Sanders to release his tax returns. He released them the next day. We are still waiting for the transcripts over two months later.
Sanders received a standing ovation after his closing statements that was so long and loud, Clinton had to wait for the cheers to die down before starting hers. Clinton never directly answered a question; instead, she talked around the questions, diverting and deflecting into completely different topics. And finally, moderators had to ask her several times to just answer the question with a “yes” or a “no.”
Despite all of this, Graham claimed she won the debate handily. That’s true, if one grades debate performance by how well they can keep from answering questions. But for voters who want practical answers to questions and not deflections, Clinton lost, and she lost badly.
Millennials and even their older counterparts, Generation X, are increasingly ignoring mainstream news programs on television in favor of reading alternative news sites and watching independent online news programs. This is a trend that will only increase in the next several years. A March 2015 Associated Press story discusses the shift from television to online news sources. A young woman interviewed for the story told the AP she uses her smartphone to seek out news and said she wasn’t happy with how biased television news had become.
“Some news stations need to grow up. “
But some news outlets can’t “grow up,” not while they or their parent companies are major contributors to political campaigns. CNN, again, is owned by Time Warner, which is a major contributor to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. As Bernie Sanders’ campaign has helped illustrate, until mainstream news media becomes less financially invested in politics and more impartial in its news reporting, more people will continue to turn off the television and turn to the Internet for their news.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]