Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Media Bias Favors Trump and Hillary Clinton

[When 6 corporations control 90% of the media, what do you expect? Bernie Sanders would raise their taxes. Trump wouldn't; and Hillary — probably no so much. Trump is great for advertising ratings on the cable news channels too.]

Bernie Sanders Mounts an Independent Democratic Challenge to Media as Usual: The senator explains media and politics to Chuck Todd (By John Nichols on March 15, 2016)

Sanders explained in great detail his concerns about the challenges that face independent and third-party candidates. The Vermont senator recalled the presidential candidacies of consumer activist Ralph Nader and others (going back to Wisconsin Senator Robert M. La Follette in 1924) who had tried to open up the political process by running against the two major parties. He explained that he did not believe he would get a fair shake from the major media outlets that — among other things — acquiesced to the Commission on Presidential Debates rules that were designed to marginalize independent and third-party candidates who do not happen to be as wealthy as 1992 contender Ross Perot.

Sanders also explained his determination to avoid playing a spoiler role that might tip the 2016 race to a right-wing Republican. And he pointed out that he was comfortable working with Democrats—with whom he has caucused since 1991—in rejecting right-wing dogma and policy.

Sanders still does not get anything akin to fair media coverage for a candidacy that has packed rally halls, won primaries and caucuses and upset the calculus of political and media elites. Reviews of network news coverage of the various campaigns reveal that Sanders has gotten only a fraction of the coverage afforded Republican Donald Trump.

The Media Malpractice That’s Hurting Everyone But Trump: It’s time for the media to finally answer Bernie Sanders’s plea and stop favoring the spectacle over ‘the important issues facing the American people.’ (By Katrina vanden Heuvel on March 15, 2016)

“I believe that in a democracy what elections are about are serious debates over serious issues,” Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said upon announcing his presidential campaign in April 2015. He concluded with a plea to the press: “I would hope, and I ask the media’s help on this, allow us to discuss the important issues facing the American people and let’s not get hung up on political gossip or all the other soap opera aspects of modern campaigns.”

Less than two months later, Donald Trump rode his escalator into the race and promptly obliterated any possibility of the media heeding Sanders’s call. Almost immediately, the election came to resemble, if not a soap opera, a reality TV show with the incendiary former star of “The Apprentice” at its center. This has resulted not only in ridiculously lopsided coverage of Trump, at the expense of his rivals in both parties, but also a lack of sustained and serious attention to the important issues of our time.

Indeed, while lavishing obscene coverage on Trump, many journalists and talking heads have consistently marginalized or written off Sanders, who, aspiring to lead a “political revolution,” has attracted similar levels of support and enthusiasm. Last summer, as the mainstream media obsessed over Trump’s every move, they paid little attention to Sanders’s rallies even though they regularly drew massive crowds. And much of the coverage Sanders does receive is negative: The Post, for instance, recently published 16 negative articles and opinion pieces about Sanders online in the space of 16 hours.

Last week’s Michigan primary reinforced how Sanders is underrated by the media. Before his upset victory, much of the media had prematurely written political obituaries for the Sanders campaign. Yet the stunning upset didn’t seem to have a chastening effect. Heading into Tuesday’s primaries, too much of the coverage has once again emphasized Clinton’s lead over Sanders in the polls, and some have even suggested that the expected results could “increase pressure on him to consider dropping out of the race.”

How the Sanders Campaign Is Reinventing the Use of Tech in Politics: The watchword is no longer Big Data but Big Organizing, in which thousands of volunteers play a leadership role in the campaign. (By Micah L. Sifry on March 15, 2016)

Ever since the Bernie Sanders campaign gathered more than 100,000 supporters in 3,500 events on one night in July 2015, it’s been clear that the senator from Vermont was building a massive base for his upstart push for the presidency. By the end of the year, it had generated more than 2.5 million contributions to his campaign, topping the 2.1 million tallied at the same point by incumbent President Barack Obama during his re-election bid. That juggernaut has continued to expand, with another 2.5 million contributions since the beginning of 2016.

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