Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Bernie Says The "Corporate Media" Is Biased Against Him

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am no fan of Bernie Sanders. While I support many of his progressive ideas, I think he would make a terrible nominee for the Democratic Party (primarily because of his life-long claim of being a socialist, which would open him up to scare tactics by Trump -- using his own words).

But I had thought he was better than this -- more honest. He seems to be taking a page from the playbook of Donald Trump, and accusing the media of being biased against his campaign. Consider this from a town hall meeting in New Hampshire last Monday:

"Anybody here know how much Amazon paid in taxes last year?" 
"Nothing," shouted back the audience. 
"I talk about that all of the time, 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, but I guess maybe there's a connection," said Sanders, to laughter from the audience. 
The Sanders campaign is faltering this year, and he wants to blame that on some conspiracy by The Washington Post. He later expanded that to say he was talking about the corporate media. Does he really think, like Trump does, that the mark of honesty for a media outlet is to support him?

The Post's editors quickly denied that Bezos has anything to do with their coverage of Sanders or any other presidential candidate. Bezos is "hands off" when it comes to The Washington Post, and I believe them.

The Washington Post (and other media outlets -- corporate or not) are not in the business of supporting (or opposing) any particular campaign of either party. They are in the business of reporting the news as fairly as possible. We can debate over how well they do that mission, but to say they are biased against a candidate is ridiculous.

Sanders got a lot of coverage in 2016, when he was one of only two candidates. 2020 is different. There are 25 candidates running for the Democratic nomination. That means Sanders has a lot more competition for media coverage, and even other progressives vying for that coverage (like Elizabeth Warren).

Beto O'Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, and Kamala Harris were all "flavors-of-the-month" in the media. They showed up well in the polls and started getting a lot of media coverage. But as they began to slide, the coverage became less. It had nothing to do with bias, but simply how their campaigns were doing. The campaigns doing the best will naturally get the most coverage.

Elizabeth Warren got very little coverage as she started her campaign. But as she has steadily climbed in the polls, she is now getting a lot more coverage. That is only natural. The media doesn't have the newsprint space or tv airtime to give all 25 candidates equal coverage.

If Bernie doesn't like the coverage he's getting, he should look to his own campaign -- not engage in conspiracy theories about media bias. He is mired in the low teens in the polls, and doesn't seem to be able to get any traction. That's not the fault of the media. It's just that he's trying to run the same old tired campaign, while there are many exciting alternatives this year.

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