Thu May 21, 2015 at 06:01 PM PDT
The corporate media would like you to think Bernie Sanders can’t win the Democratic primary against Hillary Clinton. And they’re doing their damnedest to make their own preference into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The Columbia Journalism Review looks at how the media is covering Bernie Sanders’ entry into the 2016 presidential race, and it isn’t pretty. They start with comparisons to the out-of-touch press coverage of the Truman-Dewey race (culminating in the humiliatingly wrong headline in the Chicago Tribune: “Dewey defeats Truman” ), and go from there:
[You] could not have been surprised by the reception Bernie Sanders got last month when he entered the race for the Democratic nomination for the presidency. Sanders…quaintly maintains that people and the planet are more important than profit. Not long ago such beliefs fell well within the waters of the main stream where politicians swam, but the current has since been rerouted, and Sanders now paddles hard against the left bank. For not going with the flow, and for challenging Hillary Clinton, the big fish many elites have tagged as their own, Sanders’s entry into the race was greeted with story after story whose message—stated or understated, depending on the decorum of the messenger—was “This crank can’t win.”The trouble with this consensus is the paucity of evidence to support it. “This crank actually could win” is nearer the mark. But having settled on a prophecy, the media went about covering Sanders so as to fulfill it. The Times, for example, buried his announcement on page A21, even though every other candidate who had declared before then had been put on the front page above the fold. Sanders’s straight-news story didn’t even crack 700 words, compared to the 1,100 to 1,500 that Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Hillary Clinton got. As for the content, the Times’ reporters declared high in Sanders’s piece that he was a long shot for the Democratic nomination and that Clinton was all but a lock. None of the Republican entrants got the long-shot treatment, even though Paul, Rubio, and Cruz were generally polling fifth, seventh, and eighth among Republicans before they announced.
Other coverage of Sanders ran to caricature, as in Paul Kane and Philip Rucker’s personality piece in the Washington Post, which opened, “He seems an unlikely presidential candidate—an ex-hippie, septuagenarian socialist from the liberal reaches of Vermont who rails, in his thick Brooklyn accent, rumpled suit and frizzy pile of white hair, against the ‘billionaire class’ taking over the country.” The Post’s pieces didn’t lead with Clinton’s hippie past or her age (she will be a septuagenarian in 2017) and didn’t say she rails when she discusses her more ardently held positions….
Other major news organizations ignored Sanders as nearly as they could a sitting U.S. senator who entered the presidential race. ABC’s World News Tonight gave his announcement all of 18 seconds, five of which were allotted to Clinton’s tweet welcoming him to the race. CBS Evening News fitted the announcement into a single sentence at the end of a two-minute report about Clinton.
The usual excuse for this sort of coverage is that Sanders is a long-shot. But that hasn’t stopped the media from covering other long-shot candidates in an even-handed way:
Ted Cruz, for example, received his serious, in-depth treatment in the Times’ news columns even as its analysts were writing pieces like “Why Ted Cruz Is Such A Long Shot.”
Why the difference in type of coverage for Sanders versus all the others, even the fringiest fringe candidates crowded onto the running boards of the Republican clown car?
The difference is that Cruz has not erected a platform whose planks present a boardwalk of horror to the corporate class atop the media.
As CJR points out, this narrative of he can’t win, while it might be convenient to the corporate owners of the media and of much of the political process, has no actual historical validity at all.
I’ll skip lightly over the conspicuous fact that any frontrunner can have a Chappaquiddick, a deceptively amplified “scream,” or a plane crash. Instead, let me dwell on the simple fact that over the last 40 years, out of seven races in which the Democratic nomination was up for grabs—races, that is, when a sitting Democrat president wasn’t seeking reelection—underdogs have won the nomination either three or four times (depending on your definition of an underdog) and have gone on to win the presidency more often than favored candidates.
Jimmy Carter wasn’t even on anyone’s radar at this point in the campaign and polled at 1 percent among Democratic voters. But he won, because the other candidates were insiders, and voters had had it up to here with insiders.
If you don’t see a parallel to the present moment—a discontented time of Occupy, Black Lives Matter, Moral Monday, Fight for $15, the People’s Climate March, Move to Amend, and other anti-establishmentarian agitation—you’re either asleep or a publisher.
Likewise Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama were dark horses who came out of nowhere, polling-wise, this early in the game, to win their respective races.So, don’t be so quick to swallow what your corporate media overlords are trying to feed you. Don’t brush off a Sanders run as some sort of ridiculous impossibility.
As Sanders says, “Don’t underestimate me.” He’s in it to win, and the history might be more on his side than the corporate media would like you to know.
Tue May 26, 2015 at 09:38 AM PDT
Bernie Sanders continued bringing the truth to the media world on CNBC’s John Harwood.
“I think it’s sick, and I think these people are so greedy. They’re so out of touch with reality, and they think they own the world, and the idea that me or anybody else are challenging them and saying maybe, just maybe, there’s something wrong with 99% of all new income going to the top 1%. Oh, this is Hitlerism to suggest that? What a disgusting remark. If you’ve seen a massive transfer of wealth from the middle-class to the top one ten of one percent, in our view, you ought to transfer that back. When radical socialist Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, I think the highest marginal tax rate was ninety percent or something like that.”
Let me answer it this way, John. I think there is obviously an enormously important role for the free market and for entrepreneurial activity. I worry how free the free market is. In sector after sector, you have a small number of companies controlling a large part of the sector.Certainly, in my view, the major banks should be broken up. We want entrepreneurs and private businesses to create wealth. No problem. But what we’re living in now is what I would call—what Pope Francis calls—a casino-type capitalism, which is out of control, where the people on top have lost any sense of responsibility for the rest of the society. Where it’s just “It’s all me. It’s all me. And to heck with anybody else.” I want to see the result of that wealth go to the broad middle class of this country and not just to a handful of people.
Fri May 22, 2015 at 12:40 PM PDT
Who says Bernie Sanders can’t win? If he keeps coming up with simple mind blowing ideas like he did on CNN the other day , he is going to win a lot of votes! Simple yes, mind blowing, only if you are an elite pundit like Wolf Blitzer who apparently doesn’t get out much… More after the psychedlic squiggly…..
On a May 19 CNN broadcast with Blitzer, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders unveiled a plan to eliminate college tuition by taxing Wall Street speculation.
Sounds pretty simple and straight forward doesn’t it? Yet, Blitzer just couldn’t wrap his mind around it….. watch……https://www.youtube.com/…
Blitzer asked time and again, ” you mean you are going to tax Wall Street? as if he just heard that aliens had landed on the White House lawn. Yes Sanders replied over and over again. A small tax on transference of money that will in all likelihood raise about 300 billion dollars, more than enough to keep our college grads from starting out life deep in debt.
I confess I don’t know much about Wall Street operations ( I just know they are crooks)
but maybe another Kossack who knows about this can explain it. I just know that it is a simple plan, and apparently would work.
It is so refreshing to hear a politician talk directly about how he or she would fix a problem. It is apparently so rare that it caught Wolf Blitzer off guard. Thank God we have Bernie in the race! He is going to bring a breath of fresh air into the campaign that with Bush and Clinton on the horizon, so desperately needs it!
By the way, who says he can’t win??
- Where every person has health care as a right, not a privilege;
- Where every parent can have quality and affordable childcare and where all of our qualified young people, regardless of income, can go to college;
- Where every senior can live in dignity and security, and not be forced to choose between their medicine or their food;
- Where every veteran who defends this nation gets the quality health care and benefits they have earned and receives the respect they deserve;
- Where every person, no matter their race, their religion, their disability or their sexual orientation realizes the full promise of equality that is our birthright as Americans.