Common Dreams, January 14, 2019
After having been a mainstream TV news pundit, I’m unfortunately addicted to cable news (mostly MSNBC and CNN) and all the blather and repetition—laughably overhyped as "breaking news." Even when it's the same news that’s been breaking... and breaking... for hours or days.
But I'm more bothered by the repetition of pundits and the narrowness of discussion, resulting in a number of unexamined clichés. Although the Democratic race for president has barely launched, mainstream media bias is already in orbit.
As everyone in politics knows—and mainstream pundits acknowledge—the Democratic Party is seriously divided in two. The conflict today may be as intense as during the 2016 primary battle:
- On one side is the party establishment, allied with corporate donors – preaching pragmatism, caution and incrementalism.
- On the other side is much of the party's activist base, animated by issues and allied with elected officials like Bernie Sanders and a young crop of insurgent Congress members – calling for transformative change to protect the planet and people from corporatism and greed.
Strange thing: only the corporate Democratic side is regularly represented on MSNBC and CNN, and in mainstream media at large.
(Actually it's not so strange, given the powerful economic forces that own and sponsor mainstream news: Comcast, Time Warner, Jeff Bezos, etc.)
The now daily MSNBC and CNN discussions of the Democratic 2020 race—which usually include mainstream print reporters and Democratic operatives singing the same tune—feature a chorus of corporate Democratic talking points (standards like "go moderate"), while the progressive wing of the party is often alluded to but rarely heard from.
During the Hillary vs. Bernie battle of 2016, CNN made a fleeting attempt to add a few pro-Bernie voices to balance the many on-air Clintonites. That effort faded when the primaries did—and you could almost sense the relief among network executives now that calls for taxing the rich, breaking up big banks, Medicare for all, and free public college were once again muted.
The absence of pundits firmly allied with the progressive wing of the party leads to un-rebutted establishment clichés, such as: "Democrats who are too progressive can't win the votes of moderate and swing voters." This line persists despite Hillary Clinton, the candidate of supposed moderation and realism, having lost the White House to the most disliked candidate in the history of polling. And despite Clinton's narrow losses in Michigan (by 11,000 votes), Wisconsin (23,000 votes) and Pennsylvania (44,000 votes)—with survey data indicating that the number of voters who supported the unabashedly progressive Sanders in primaries and then voted for Trump in the general—was far larger than Clinton’s margin of defeat: 48,000 voters in Michigan, 51,000 in Wisconsin and 117,000 in Pennsylvania.
It's not hard to find these swing voters. I co-produced a soon-to-be-released documentary, "The Corporate Coup D’Etat," and our film team easily located and interviewed working-class people in Ohio who voted for both Obama and Bernie . . . and then chose Trump over Hillary in November 2016. Watch the trailer: ...
Read full article at Common Dreams