Truthout - February 2, 2020
"If current trends persist, the mainstream press will find itself increasingly toothless in its efforts to shape our national debate."
Dominant media outlets continue to produce more desperate and cartoonish attacks on Bernie Sanders as he continues to surge in the polls. The attacks are failing in epic fashion. And the left is having some laughs at the expense of establishment tears.
Losing the argument to Sanders is not the only concern for the dominant media, 90 percent of which are owned by only five corporations. The corporate media may also lose credibility in the process. These outlets are helping raise the class consciousness of the public by providing evidence supporting Sanders’s claim that these media operate as an organ serving the richest institutions in the country.
“Amazon zillionaire Jeff Bezos owns TheWashington Post, and Bernie has been fighting Amazon on behalf of Amazon workers,” said Norman Solomon, a 2016 delegate for Bernie Sanders at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, in an interview with Truthout. Solomon said that Sanders has prompted a more widespread “realization that the most powerful media outlets aren’t umpires, they’re players, and the ‘game’ has tremendous consequences.”
Indeed, increased awareness has helped the public more willingly reject the neoliberal dogma that pervades the corporate media. This dynamic did not change overnight. Some of it can be attributed to an evolving understanding of class that has been growing for years in this country. As a Truthout analysis observed in 2016, the first Sanders campaign and the Occupy movement were both instrumental in helping reshape the American debate through class lenses. These movements grew in the aftermath of the Great Recession and the 2008 economic crisis. This was a wake-up call for young Americans who were (and still are) disproportionately impacted. The 2020 primary is an incredibly high-stakes chapter in this fight, as the class consciousness that manifested itself in 2011 and 2016 has transformed into an even larger national movement with a viable national candidate.
Moreover, the growth of alternative means of communication, including independent media and social media, have provided a chance for more Americans to learn about the world without relying on corporate media outlets.
Mainstream media contempt for Sanders has been well documented back to his first presidential run. Still, the sheer volume of anti-Sanders media content in the last few weeks — as his poll numbers have risen — is overwhelming. Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin’s recent commentary is sadly typical. She has been arguing that Sanders is unelectable and is a massive liability to compete with Trump. As she was making this argument on Twitter, she asked: “What poll is there suggesting a Bernie can beat Trump?”
It was clear Rubin thought this was a classic mic-drop moment. However, Sanders has defeated President Donald Trump in numerous credible head-to-head polls, faring better than every other candidate save for Biden. Whether Rubin is being dishonest or ignorant is an open question, but there is no justification either way.
Much to Rubin’s chagrin, Bernie’s “Internet Army,” as TheNew York Times pejoratively called Sanders supporters in one of its many anti-Sanders articles, quickly dismantled her argument in real time. A flood of comments and memes correcting her missteps flooded her responses, far outpacing likes or retweets. In addition to shredding Rubin’s assertion, many (like Solomon) pointed out that the owner of TheWashington Post, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, has a vested interest in stopping the kind of redistributive economic policies Bernie Sanders’s campaign advances.
There was a time when Rubin’s sentiments would have had more influence. Facts that disprove her points, expose her hypocrisies or demonstrate who owns the bulk of the mainstream media would not have been as accessible to your average consumer of political news, say, 20 years ago. But ready access to such information means that these types of assertions simply can’t stand. ...
Read full report at Truthout