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Sanders vs. The Media

March 9th, 2016

I have often noted a bias in the media against certain candidates. It is not isolated—it tends to span across all the major media outlets—and it trends noticeably against the candidate less likely to be friendly to big-money interests.

For much of 2015, Sanders was drawing incredible crowds. Vast seas of people to listen to him speak. How did the media cover it? Hardly at all. In January, when it looked like his support—despite media inattention—might actually give him a chance to win, there were pieces in the media trying to explain themselves, and how they had somehow inadvertently “overlooked” Sanders.

Most cited the idea that a socialist Jew had no chance to win, but that was bullshit—their own polls had repeatedly shown that Sanders performed better than Clinton in one-to-one match-ups against Trump, Cruz, and Rubio. More to the point, the polling data showed that while Clinton is one of the most disliked candidates in history with huge negative numbers, Sanders’ appeal was broad, his positives high and his negatives low, and his appeal reached much more deeply into independent territories.

Since January, as primary and caucus numbers have come in, the media has taken a different tack: pay minimal attention to Sanders, ignoring his come-from-behind performances, and instead drone on about Hillary’s inevitability.

In New Hampshire, Sanders was supposed to win by 13% according to poll averages. He won by 22%. Media response? Yawn. Sanders will get crushed in South Carolina.

Sanders had been behind in Iowa by double digits until just a few weeks before the caucus, but came from behind to nearly win; similarly, Clinton had been ahead in Nevada by more than 20 points until just a few weeks before. Sanders’ near-wins in those states was a huge victory for him, and should have been the big story. Instead, the media declared Hillary the winner and kept going on about how she had already won with superdelegates anyway.

I was told that Sanders’ near-wins in Iowa and Nevada were not reported because polls tightened before the final results—but if so, where was the big coverage of that?

However, today we are seeing an excellent example of how the media is studiously disregarding Sanders. With primaries in Michigan and Mississippi, Sanders was expected to lose in both states. Michigan is much bigger, with 141 delegates as opposed to Mississippi’s 41. Up until just a few days ago, Hillary held an average 21.4% lead in the polls.

The current count? With 58% of districts reporting so far, Sanders hols on to a 3% lead over Clinton, 50.6% to 47.6%. While that lead could dissipate and Clinton could eventually win Michigan, it represents a huge surprise surge for Sanders in a pivotal state.

By any rational measure, that should be the story of the hour. Mississippi is over with, and there’s no surprise in Trump winning both states. This is a real horse race, a contentious battle over a big prize. The media would normally being making a huge deal about it, reporting on the nail-biting drama and the potential huge upset.

So, how does the media cover it? What are the headlines?

Los Angeles Times:

Live updates: Donald Trump wins Mississippi and Michigan primaries
Another round of primaries Tuesday could push the Republicans further apart, while Hillary Clinton aims for a predicted win in Michigan.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump win Mississippi’s primaries
Trump is declared the winner in Michigan, too


Primary results: CNN projects 2 wins for Donald Trump, 1 for Hillary Clinton


Polls: Trump, Clinton continue to lead their fields nationally


Trump is projected winner in Michigan; earlier he and Clinton won Mississippi

It goes on. The Google News page collecting primary news coverage mentions Trump 28 times, Clinton 10 times—and Sanders just once, in a sentence about how Hillary is “trouncing” him.

Nobody better tell me that I am only imagining a pronounced media bias against Sanders. It has been plainly evident for quite some time now.

Why? Well, there’s no way to know for certain, but I hold that it is not even a small coincidence that Sanders is the only candidate who is vehemently against big money.

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  1. Troy
    March 13th, 2016 at 01:21 | #1

    Poor people don’t own anything, let alone newspaper chains or TV stations.

    The local paper here essentially published a press release from a small-government media operation yesterday:


    The Bee of the Sacramento Bee was originally a Progressive era idea that the press should have the stinger of truth to make big government and big business less dishonest.

    Man, five years since Fukushima. Went by so, so fast . . .

  2. Troy
    March 13th, 2016 at 01:26 | #2

    Hmm, doing a quick google I see that the Bee pre-dates Progressivism and was apparently named for the insect’s industriousness. Oh well.

  3. kensensei
    March 13th, 2016 at 07:57 | #3

    The Big Fog that is the American media is showing its true colors again.

    I did hear about the “Big Bernie upset in Michigan” on Left-leaning talk shows yesterday, but they are not necessarily corporate backed. Norman Goldman was happy to announce the fact that Bernie now has a new weapon called “Michigan”. Whenever you hear the Trumps and Cruzes talking about ‘Communism’ (since that’s the same thing as ‘Democratic Socialism’ in their minds), Bernie just has to say, “Michigan” in response. Whenever Hillary says that Bernie is a one-issue candidate, Bernie can retort with the word “Michigan” and make her look obsolete.

    It now seems increasing clear that MSNCB and Fox are two sides of the same coin. Bernie represents a threat to their God-given power to influence voters to support the current corporate structure. The corporate media, however, seems to have overplayed their cards, placing all of their bets on a Clinton victory. They are dumb-founded by Bernie’s recent victories and can only respond with a media blackout.

    I hope Bernie gains more momentum as more delegates come out in his favor and shows the corporate media whose voice represents that of true Americans.


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