FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

For Corporate Media, It’s ‘Anybody But Sanders or Warren’

Photograph Source: Office of Sen. Bernie Sanders – Public Domain

Anyone who’s been paying attention should get the picture by now. Overall, in subtle and sledgehammer ways, the mass media of the United States — owned and sponsored by corporate giants — are in the midst of a siege against the two progressive Democratic candidates who have a real chance to be elected president in 2020.

Some of the prevalent media bias has taken the form of protracted swoons for numerous “center lane” opponents of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. The recent entry of Michael Bloomberg has further jammed that lane, adding a plutocrat “worth” upwards of $50 billion to a bevy of corporate politicians.

The mainline media are generally quite warm toward so-called “moderates,” without bothering to question what’s so moderate about such positions as bowing to corporate plunder, backing rampant militarism and refusing to seriously confront the climate emergency.

Critical reporting on debate performances and campaign operations has certainly been common. But the core of the “moderate” agenda routinely gets affirmation from elite journalists who told us in no uncertain terms four years ago that Hillary Clinton was obviously the nominee who could defeat Donald Trump.

This year, Sanders has taken most of the flak from reporters and pundits (often virtually indistinguishable), serving as a kind of “heat shield” for Warren. But as Warren gained ground in polling this fall, the attacks on her escalated — to the point that she now has a corporate media bullseye on her political back.

The disconnect between voters and corporate media is often huge. Meanwhile, with fly-on-the-wall pretenses, media outlets that have powerfully distorted proposals like Medicare for All are now reporting (with thinly veiled satisfaction) that voters are cool to those proposals.

The Washington Post, owned by the world’s richest person Jeff Bezos, has routinely spun Medicare for All as some sort of government takeover. In a prominent Nov. 30 news storythat largely attributed Warren’s recent dip in polls to her positioning on healthcare, the Post matter-of-factly — and falsely — referred to Medicare for All as “government-run healthcare” and “a government-run health plan.”

Such pervasive mass-media reporting smoothed the way for deceptions that have elevated Pete Buttigieg in polls during recent weeks with his deceptive “Medicare for all who want it” slogan. That rhetoric springboards from the false premises that Medicare for All would deprive people of meaningful choice and would somehow reduce coverage.

In late September, with scant media scrutiny, Buttigieg launched an ad campaign against Medicare for All that has continued. Using insurance-industry talking points, he is deliberately confusing the current “choice” of predatory for-profit insurance plans with the genuine full choice of healthcare providers that top-quality Medicare for everyone would offer.

Mainstream media outlets are ill-positioned to refute such distortions since they’re routinely purveying such distortions themselves. Warren’s backtracking step on Medicare for All in mid-November was a tribute to media pressure in tandem with attacks from centrist opponents.

The idea of implementing some form of a substantial “wealth tax” has also been denigrated by many corporate-employed journalists. Countless pundits and political beat reporters have warned that proposals like a wealth tax, from Warren and Sanders, risk dragging Democrats down with voters. The truth is that such proposals are unpopular with the punditocracy and the extremely wealthy — while it’s a very different matter for most voters, who strongly favor a wealth tax.

On the same day this fall, the New York Times and the Washington Post published stories on Democratic elites’ “anxiety” about the presidential election. The Post wrote that Democrats “fret” Warren and Sanders “are too liberal to win a general election.” (With disdain, the article made a matter-of-fact reference to “the push for liberal purity.”) The Timessimilarly wrote of “persistent questions about Senator Elizabeth Warren’s viability in the general election.” Contrary voices were absent in both news stories.

Assessing those articles, FAIR.org media analyst Julie Hollar pointed out: “The pieces interviewed a number of big donors and centrist party leaders, who fretted about their preferred candidate’s struggles and expressed hope for someone more corporate-friendly than Warren to enter the race and challenge her rise.”

Hollar added: “The thinking of powerful people in the Democratic Party is worth writing about. But it’s crucial not to just take their claims at face value. . . . What establishment Democrats are really worried about, of course, is their own power in the party, which is threatened by a surging left wing. Don’t look to their establishment media counterparts to report on that transparently.”

Part of the problem is the TV network that many Democrats (mistakenly) trust. MSNBC is becoming notorious for its hostility to Bernie Sanders, often expressed through egregious omission or mathematical fib if not direct antipathy.

Ongoing media analysis is crucial, but even more important is activist pushback against the 24/7 onslaught of corporate-minded propaganda, often couched as common sense and incontrovertible reality. Among the needed counterpunches are these:

**  Support progressive media outlets as they provide independent coverage of the presidential campaign.

**  Widely share, via email forwarding and social media, online pieces that you like. (Hopefully including this one.)

**  Recognize, challenge, and organize against the corporate-media echo chamber that affects so many voters.

You shouldn’t have to be an active supporter of Bernie Sanders (as I am) or of Elizabeth Warren to voice outrage about corporate media biases. What’s at stake includes democracy — the informed consent of the governed — and so much more.

History is unfolding in real time. It’s not a product on the media shelf, to be passively bought and consumed. As Bernie 2020 campaign co-chair Nina Turner says, “All that we love is on the line.”

More articles by:

Norman Solomon is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, where he coordinates ExposeFacts. Solomon is a co-founder of RootsAction.org.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
December 06, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Eat an Impeachment
Matthew Hoh
Authorizations for Madness; The Effects and Consequences of Congress’ Endless Permissions for War
Jefferson Morley
Why the Douma Chemical Attack Wasn’t a ‘Managed Massacre’
Andrew Levine
Whatever Happened to the Obama Coalition?
Paul Street
The Dismal Dollar Dems and the Subversion of Democracy
Dave Lindorff
Conviction and Removal Aren’t the Issue; It’s Impeachment of Trump That is Essential
Ron Jacobs
Law Seminar in the Hearing Room: Impeachment Day Six
Linda Pentz Gunter
Why Do We Punish the Peacemakers?
Louis Proyect
Michael Bloomberg and Me
Robert Hunziker
Permafrost Hits a Grim Threshold
Joseph Natoli
What We Must Do
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Global Poison Spring
Robert Fantina
Is Kashmir India’s Palestine?
Charles McKelvey
A Theory of Truth From the South
Walden Bello
How the Battle of Seattle Made the Truth About Globalization True
Evan Jones
BNP Before a French Court
Norman Solomon
Kerry’s Endorsement of Biden Fits: Two Deceptive Supporters of the Iraq War
Torsten Bewernitz – Gabriel Kuhn
Syndicalism for the Twenty-First Century: From Unionism to Class-Struggle Militancy
Matthew Stevenson
Across the Balkans: From Banja Luka to Sarajevo
Thomas Knapp
NATO is a Brain Dead, Obsolete, Rabid Dog. Euthanize It.
Forrest Hylton
Bolivia’s Coup Government: a Far-Right Horror Show
M. G. Piety
A Lesson From the Danes on Immigration
Ellen Isaacs
The Audacity of Hypocrisy
Monika Zgustova
Chernobyl, Lies and Messianism in Russia
Manuel García, Jr.
From Caesar’s Last Breath to Ours
Binoy Kampmark
Going to the ICJ: Myanmar, Genocide and Aung San Suu Kyi’s Gamble
Jill Richardson
Marijuana and the Myth of the “Gateway Drug”
Muzamil Bhat
Srinagar’s Shikaras: Still Waters Run Deep Losses
Gaither Stewart
War and Betrayal: Change and Transformation
Farzana Versey
What Religion is Your Nationalism?
Clark T. Scott
The Focus on Trump Reveals the Democrat Model
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Do Bernie’s Supporters Know What “Not Me, Us” Means? Does Bernie?
Peter Harley
Aldo Leopold, Revisited
Winslow Myers
A Presidential Speech the World Needs to Hear
Christopher Brauchli
The Chosen One
Jim Britell
Misconceptions About Lobbying Representatives and Agencies
Ted Rall
Trump Gets Away with Stuff Because He Does
Mel Gurtov
Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and the Insecurity of China’s Leadership
Nicky Reid
Dennis Kucinich, Tulsi Gabbard and the Slow Death of the Democratic Delusion
Tom H. Hastings
Cross-Generational Power to Change
John Kendall Hawkins
1619: The Mighty Whitey Arrives
Julian Rose
Why I Don’t Have a Mobile Phone
David Yearsley
Parasitic Sounds
Elliot Sperber
Class War is Chemical War
December 05, 2019
Colin Todhunter
Don’t Look, Don’t See: Time for Honest Media Reporting on Impacts of Pesticides
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail