With Joe Biden eating the now-frontrunning Bernie Sanders’ dust, garnering fewer than half of Sanders’ number of delegates in Nevada despite finishing second, after coming in fourth in Iowa and fifth in New Hampshire, you would think the decidedly left-leaning media would be popping the champagne corks.
The most radical major candidate in history being on track to getting the Democratic presidential nomination should spark celebrations in their newsrooms and studios. After all, whether it’s the New York Times or MSNBC, most print and TV journalists want a revolutionary transformation of American society just as much as Bernie does.
Yet instead, somehow, they’re in a state of panic.
At MSNBC, Chris Matthews was comparing the rise of Bernie to the fall of France to the Nazis, and even pondered whether four more years of President Trump would be better for the Democratic Party than a Sanders Administration. “Democrats need to sober up,” warned his fellow MSNBC host Joy Reid.
The left-wing magazine In These Times examined MSNBC’s treatment of Sanders last November and found that “Sanders received not only the least total coverage (less than one-third of Biden’s), but the most negative.” In These Times investigative fellow Branko Marcetic added that network commentators “increasingly singled out Sanders for criticism. He ‘shouted his way through that last debate and came off as a bit of a scold,’” the magazine quoted MSNBC’s Brian Williams. “He was ‘out of step on the biggest sort of cultural issue in the country right now,’ said Deadline: White House host Nicole Wallace, in reference to guns. He was helping Trump’s re-election chances, said former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele on Hardball.”
Marcetic noted that Sanders, like rival Elizabeth Warren, had put out numerous detailed policy proposals. But: “Most of these 18 plans were ignored by MSNBC, and only two were discussed in any depth,” according to Marcetic, whose dubious ultimate conclusion is that the explanation is capitalism. “Of course, the anchors on MSNBC’s flagships are part of a larger corporate media system, and the parameters of the consent they create is modulated by the terms of acceptable public discourse.”
The Establishment Media’s Ideology Indicted
The New York Times, unable to settle on one candidate, instead endorsed two, Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Of Bernie Sanders, the “Newspaper of Record” in doing so complained, “He boasts that compromise is anathema to him,” and “Only his prescriptions can be the right ones, even though most are overly rigid, untested and divisive. He promises that once in office, a groundswell of support will emerge to push through his agenda.”
According to the Times, sending Bernie to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue would be “exchanging one over-promising, divisive figure in Washington for another.”
Even CNN on Monday highlighted the Sanders campaign’s anger at MSNBC’s negativity regarding their man. “I think one of the big questions is how and whether news outlets reassess whether they got it right on Bernie,” his campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, told CNN on Sunday. “And if not, how does that change coverage going forward? What are they missing about Bernie’s appeal?”
Shakir is shrewd enough to know that the left-leaning media aren’t missing a thing about Bernie’s popularity; the nation’s press establishment would love to place him inside the confines of the White House. But they know that the left doesn’t win elections in the United States of America by putting their cards on the table.
They remember George McGovern’s extreme agenda being mocked as “acid, amnesty and abortion,” and his loss of 49 states to incumbent President Richard Nixon in 1972. They also remember Bill Clinton’s win after promising an economic policy that “starts with a tax cut for the middle class” – a tax cut Clinton abandoned before he was even inaugurated, after which he increased income tax rates.
For Democrats, telling the truth about their intentions doesn’t win power at the ballot box.
The establishment media were infinitely more impressed by Barack Obama’s oft-repeated empty promise – “If you like the plan you have, you can keep it. If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too. The only change you’ll see are falling costs as our reforms take hold” – than by Sanders spelling out his intentions on providing free college, wiping away student debt, the abolition of private health coverage, and the Green New Deal, Bernienomics total price tag possibly reaching an incomprehensible $60 trillion.
Not that these same journalists wouldn’t be thrilled if a President Biden or President Bloomberg executed some or all of these items on the Sanders agenda. But by spilling the beans about expanding and tightening government control, the Vermont senator is almost certainly ensuring disaster for the Democratic Party in November, in both the race for the White House and Congress.
It’s a damning indictment of the ideas of Big Government that the media who themselves embrace them are doing their utmost this year to get someone nominated who won’t talk them up. The American people, you see, don’t know what’s good for them. You don’t tell them they’re getting their medicine until you’ve tricked them into opening their mouths wide.
— Written by Thomas McArdle
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