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Why The Major Media Marginalize Bernie – OpEd

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“Bernie did well last weekend but he can’t possibly win the nomination,” a friend told me for what seemed like the thousandth time, attaching an article from the Washington Post that shows how far behind Bernie remains in delegates.

Wait a minute. Last Tuesday, Sanders won 78 percent of the vote in Idaho and 79 percent in Utah. This past Saturday, he took 82 percent of the vote in Alaska, 73 percent in Washington, and 70 percent in Hawaii.

In fact, since March 15, Bernie has won six out of the seven Democratic primary contests with an average margin of victory of 40 points. Those victories have given him roughly a one hundred additional pledged delegates.

As of now, Hillary Clinton has 54.9 percent of the pledged delegates to Bernie Sanders’s 45.1 percent.That’s still a sizable gap – but it doesn’t make Bernie an impossibility.

Moreover, there are 22 states to go with nearly 45 percent of pledged delegates still up for grabs – and Bernie has positive momentum in almost all of them.

Hillary Clinton’s lead in superdelegates will vanish if Bernie gains a majority of pledged delegates.

Bernie is outpacing Hillary Clinton in fundraising. In February, he raised $42 million (from 1.4 million contributions, averaging $30 each), compared to her $30 million. In January he raised $20 million to her $15 million.

By any measure, the enthusiasm for Bernie is huge and keeps growing. He’s packing stadiums, young people are flocking to volunteer, support is rising among the middle-aged and boomers.

In Idaho and Alaska he exceeded the record primary turnout in 2008, bringing thousands of new voters. He did the same thing in Colorado, Kansas, Maine, and Michigan as well.

Yet if you read the Washington Post or the New York Times, or watch CNN or even MSNBC, or listen to the major pollsters and pundits, you’d come to the same conclusion as my friend. Every success by Bernie is met with a story or column or talking head whose message is “but he can’t possibly win.”

Some Sanders supporters speak in dark tones about a media conspiracy against Bernie. That’s baloney. The mainstream media are incapable of conspiring with anyone or anything. They wouldn’t dare try. Their reputations are on the line. If the public stops trusting them, their brands are worth nothing.

The real reason the major media can’t see what’s happening is because the national media exist inside the bubble of establishment politics, centered in Washington, and the bubble of establishment power, centered in New York.

As such, the major national media are interested mainly in personalities and in the money behind the personalities. Political reporting is dominated by stories about the quirks and foibles of the candidates, and about the people and resources behind them.

Within this frame of reference, it seems nonsensical that a 74-year-old Jew from Vermont, originally from Brooklyn, who calls himself a Democratic socialist, who’s not a Democratic insider and wasn’t even a member of the Democratic Party until recently, who has never been a fixture in the Washington or Manhattan circles of power and influence, and who has no major backers among the political or corporate or Wall Street elites of America, could possibly win the nomination.

But precisely because the major media are habituated to paying attention to personalities, they haven’t been attending to Bernie’s message – or to its resonance among Democratic and independent voters (as well as many Republicans). The major media don’t know how to report on movements.

In addition, because the major media depend on the wealthy and powerful for revenues, because their reporters and columnists rely on the establishment for news and access, because their top media personalities socialize with the rich and powerful and are themselves rich and powerful, and because their publishers and senior executives are themselves part of the establishment, the major media have come to see much of America through the eyes of the establishment.

So it’s understandable, even if unjustifiable, that the major media haven’t noticed how determined Americans are to reverse the increasing concentration of wealth and political power that have been eroding our economy and democracy. And it’s understandable, even if unjustifiable, that they continue to marginalize Bernie Sanders.

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fifteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good," which is available in bookstores now. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism," which is streaming now.

3 thoughts on “Why The Major Media Marginalize Bernie – OpEd

  • March 31, 2016 at 3:44 am
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    Senator Bernie is an excellent politician and have a strong personality and a very respected man. He is anti-corporations and oligarchies, and he is telling the people about concepts of inequality and wealth concentration that they have never heard before. He is talking about a political revolution and that he is a democratic socialist, and the media pundits are not able to define socialism. He is also against fascism and racism, and respects the International Law. Senator Sanders is not a war monger, and the military industrial complex is not happy with him. Oil corporations are against him, because he is not going to go for wars in the Middle East for looting oil. And the financiers are hedging against his power and have been shorten the senator as a socialist with a plan of free college tuitions that will support the wealthy. Simply, the most powerful institutional triangle of the US globalized monopoly capitalism is against Senator Sander and are not interested in hearing his views. It follows that the media does not cover all his activities, because he has what the media hates. Hope the government do not put him on the no-fly list if he travels out of the country. At any rate, I expect him to win. He will win big, because Secretary Clinton will not be nominated, for she is inconsistent and worse than President Bush the son. She will take the country for more wars and will provide more supports for her Wall Street friends. She is against Mr. Trump’s Wall daily but did not mention it at the AIPAC, because she supports Israel Wall and did not want to offend her AIPAC friends.

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  • April 1, 2016 at 1:33 am
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    You’re missing the point regarding the Mainstream Media “MSM” blackout. It has to do with https://www.bis.org/ owning 40 percent of the wealth on Wall Street, it has to do with the corporate entities funding Clinton’s campaign, and it trickles down from there. It doesn’t take a PhD to have seen the Academy Award winning film Spotlight and understand the political pressures placed upon the head editors of MSM companies. Nor does doesn’t take a uniquely discerning eye to recognize that the Arizona Primary Election Fraud is not even being touched upon by the MSM. This despite nearly as many people petitioning the validity of the election (whitehouse.gov) as people who’s votes were actually acknowledged. Thousands of Arizonians have been outspoken about the Chinatown election that just took place, passionately exclaiming that brave American’s died for their right to vote and it was illegally taken away from them. The “conspiracy” has as much to do with the MSM’s misrepresentation of Sanders’ campaign, as it has to do with what we’re not hearing about Clinton’s. Do you realize Hillary Clinton is running for president while simultaneously being investigated by the FBI? This should be the news story of the millennium, yet a majority of the media’s time is spent covering Republican soap operas. It used to be that the MSM in this country served to protect the people against corrupt politicians (see Watergate), but it is becoming painfully apparently to the American people that in 2016 it only serves to empower them.

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  • April 1, 2016 at 1:35 am
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    My typos confirm – it doesn’t take a uniquely discerning eye. ;)

    Hope this helps.

    <3 & Peace
    Alex Gutterson

    Reply

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