Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

As News Media Changes, Bernie Sanders’s Critique Remains Constant

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Jason Horowitz has a good report in the NY Times:

More than three decades before he became a familiar face on Sunday morning shows, cable television news and the late-night comedy circuit,Bernie Sanders made no secret of his contempt for commercial TV.

It was not just a profit-making enterprise, he wrote in a 1979 issue of The Vanguard Press, an alternative weekly, but an opiatelike vehicle to subjugate the masses with “lies and distortions.”

And that was just the news programs. Commercials, he went on, employed “Hitlerian” tactics in which the public is “bombarded” with short, simple messages in keeping with the owners’ mission to “create a nation of morons who will faithfully go out and buy this or that product, vote for this or that candidate.”

He may have softened his language, but Mr. Sanders’s critique of the news media, as in nearly everything else, has remained constant as he has risen over the last 40 years from radical protester and protest candidate to mayor, congressman, senator and now a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president. Despite the advent of the Internet, the diminishing of traditional news media companies and the emergence of new media Goliaths like Facebook that have helped fuel his rise, Mr. Sanders remains orthodox in his mass media doctrine.

Antagonism toward the news media is, of course, the standard posture for politicians, especially insurgent candidates. Republicans frequently try to prove their conservative bona fides by bashing the “liberal media,” and Barack Obama tried to circumvent the press filter with his own website. But Mr. Sanders’s dim view of the “corporate media,” as he refers to it, is much more than a campaign tactic; it is a pillar of his anti-establishment, socialist worldview.

On the night of the New Hampshire primary, Mr. Sanders proclaimed that his victory would send “a profound message to the political establishment, to the economic establishment and, by the way, to the media establishment.”

With that, the crowd at his victory party roared “Bernie, Bernie, Bernie” as it turned to jeer the assembled news media.

As Mr. Sanders sees it, the profit-hungry billionaire owners of news media companies serve up lowest-common-denominator coverage, purposefully avoid the income-inequality issues he prioritizes and mute alternative voices as they take over more and more outlets.

It is a view that imbues the candidate’s interactions with reporters covering his presidential campaign. Ask him how much time he has for an interview, and he responds, “If you are a typical media idiot, hmm, 12 seconds.” Inquire about the sword hanging on the wall of his Senate office, and he responds: “When media gives you a problem, take it out! Threaten them!”

In Dubuque, Iowa, in August, he answered a reporter asking about his tacit criticism of Hillary Clinton’s benefiting from “super PACs” by saying: “The corporate media talks about all kinds of issues except the most important issues. O.K.?” In December, his campaign demanded that the “corporate network news” grant him as much coverage as it does Mrs. Clinton (the “Bernie blackout,” they called it). And in his speech on the night of the Iowa caucuses, he directed familiar contempt to “all of my critics out there in The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post and in corporate America, wherever you may be.” . . .

Continue reading.

I blogged earlier today about this highly relevant incident.

Written by Leisureguy

29 February 2016 at 2:46 pm

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