May 24, 2015

Sen. Bernie Sanders appeared on this Sunday's Reliable Sources and spoke to host Brian Stelter about his recent criticism of the media and their demands for a food fight between Sanders and his opponent in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, Hillary Clinton.

Sanders didn't hold back and let them have it once again for their choices on which topics to report: Bernie Sanders Slams The Media For Their Biased Presidential Campaign Coverage:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) called out the media for their biased coverage of presidential campaigns, and refusal to inform the American people during an interview on CNN’s Reliable Sources.

During the interview, Sanders hit on the media bias against discussing issues, and the media’s obsession with negative campaigning. [...]

Hard news is expensive. It costs money to establish and run news divisions around the world. The corporate media discovered that devoting airtime to the latest celebrity scandal was cheap and brought easy ratings. This same mentality has spilled into presidential campaign coverage. The media is more interested in the soap opera storylines of presidential campaigns than the issues.

The majority of American news consumers are either misinformed or underinformed. There is a lack of basic current events knowledge in our society. Most people get their news from television, and television has decided not to cover serious issues.

Media coverage is biased against facts and issues. The corporate press is biased against informing the public. Our electoral system is based on the assumption of an informed electorate, but networks like Fox News are undermining the system by intentionally misinforming.

And as he rightfully noted, Bernie Sanders is one of the few we've seen consistently speaking out on the topic, and good for him for using his presidential candidacy as a format to do just that.

Here's some of the transcript via CNN:

STELTER: It's rare to hear a candidate or any politician really talk about the systemic issues in the press the way you did last week. I kind of lit up when I heard it, and I wondered, is it a winning strategy for you to be going at the press?

SANDERS: Look, I don't know if it's a winning strategy or not, but this is what I do know: the middle class of this country is disappearing despite the fact that people are working longer hours and they're earning lower wages. We have seen an explosion in technology and productivity and yet all of the increase in income and wealth is going to the top 1 percent. Do you think that that's an important issue to discuss?

According to the scientific community, climate change is the great planetary crisis we now face. Do you think we might want to be discussing that issue?

You have the top 1/10th of 1 percent now owning more wealth than the bottom 90 percent. I'm the ranking member of the budget committee. I dealt with the Republican budget which throws 27 million people off of health insurance, cuts educational programs by tens of billions of dollars, gives tax breaks to billionaires. Do you know how much coverage that got, outside of the political gossip? Virtually nothing. [...]

STELTER: With your campaign now a few weeks in, are you finding that the media is taking it seriously or are you finding they're using you only as a foil to Hillary Clinton to get headlines?

SANDERS: I think we are doing pretty well. And I think the media -- we have gotten more serious discussion on our issues than I might have thought about.

But this is what I worry about. In terms of campaign coverage...


SANDERS: ... there is more coverage about the political gossip of a campaign, about raising money, about polling, about somebody saying something dumb, or some kid works for a campaign sends out something stupid on Facebook, right? We can expect that to be a major story.

But what your job is, what the media's job is, is to say, look, these are the major issues facing the country. We're a democracy. People have different points of view. Let's argue it.

STELTER: Fundamentally, you're describing what is the systemic issue in press, in the nation's news media, which is an interesting spectacle over policy.

SANDERS: To me, it is astounding. And correct me if you think I'm wrong. When you have ABC, CBS, and NBC not devoting one minute to the most significant trade agreement in the history of the United States of America, help me out, help me out. Give me an explanation.


STELTER: They might say they're covering it on the Web site.


STELTER: They might say there are niche outlets that can do a better job covering it in this day and age on the Internet.

SANDERS: Not a good answer.


SANDERS: I mean, television is an important medium. You cannot ignore that. You cannot ignore the reality of income and wealth inequality.

You cannot ignore the fact that Citizens United is undermining our democratic way of life. Now, there are two sides to the story. I'm not saying everybody has got to agree with me, but have that issue, have that debate. That's what elections should be about. Read on...

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