Blackout & Bias
There is a Bernie Blackout in the media, which is very real.
Bernie Sanders has consistently pulled massive crowds, he has the most volunteers, the most grassroots funding support–dominating the map in small donors. He has the most diverse and most committed base of support, he consistently beats Trump in head-to-head polls (from 2015 to this day), including in the states that flipped from Obama to Trump in 2016. Throughout the entire primary, he’s polled within the top three nationally and polled strong in early states. That’s even with polling which often undercounts his strongest support–the youth (“young” being not just college kids, but under 50), and with polling that doesn’t account for the new and unlikely voters that Bernie energizes and brings into the fold. Oh yes, and he’s been found consistently to be the most popular U.S. senator.
Yet, if you tune in to mainstream media outlets, you might question if he’s even running. To the extent you do hear about him, it is almost never about his successes–readers and viewers of mainstream press are besieged with messages about how his campaign is floundering, stalling, reached its ceiling or is otherwise “in trouble.” When a positive is mentioned, it is minimized (ie: characterizing his first place in a poll as a “weak first,” while another candidate is said to have a “strong fourth.” Or saying they don’t need to discuss a recently released plan because, “it’s just another plan.” Contrast that with constant fawning over plans when it’s not Bernie involved).
Bottom line, one will not receive a realistic and objective look at the true power and momentum of Bernie Sanders’ campaign in the mainstream media. This is, of course, by design. Bernie represents a populist movement that is fighting against the most entrenched forces of power in the country. The “Stop Sanders” sentiment among the party elite is very real. Contrary to the insistence that the only concern is beating Trump, in reality, as laid out in this New York Times article last April, stopping Bernie is high priority–even if it means potentially squelching the best chance against Trump the party has.
This website is intended to serve as a clearinghouse for Bernie Blackout and Bernie Bias examples that have been collected by media watchers around the web. It will also have regular weekly roundups of how the media is covering current campaign and primary events. And, there will be more in depth features regarding relevant topics such as polling.
What Media is Covered?
The focus is on media that we should have a reasonable expectation would cover the Democratic Primary with some semblance of fairness/objectivity. This includes national news networks and print outlets, as well as local or regional press in areas where candidates are campaigning. An outlet such as Fox News is not typically included, as it is assumed that it is going to always have a focus that is antagonistic toward Democrats. I may decide to include a specifically egregious framing on occasion, however.
Similarly, Twitter banter from pundits and pollsters, will not typically be included here. If there is an overt framing issue by a pollster, it may be noted in the Weekly Roundup, but most likely won’t be included in the database unless it demonstrates a clear coloring of the polls that warrants capturing long run. Tweets by official media outlets such as The Hill, or Politico, are certainly included.
What About Bias Against Others?
Finally, the focus of this site is specific to Bernie Sanders bias because he is the strongest progressive who has had a real shot at power on a national level in modern history. The amount and egregiousness of the bias is so great that it, alone, is overwhelming enough to track. It is acknowledged that some of the same tricks and devices are used against other non-establishment-sanctioned candidates (and the same can be said of non-favored policies). While we do have interest in such instances, they are not part of the catalogued entries here.
To submit items for inclusion to the database or otherwise contact us, email firstname.lastname@example.org