Have you seen any of these headlines?
- “Bernie and His Army Are Losing 2018” (Politico, 8/8/18)
- “Democratic Party’s Liberal Insurgency Hits a Wall in Midwest Primaries” (Washington Post, 8/8/18)
- “The Far Left Is Losing” (US News & World Report, 8/8/18)
- “Why ‘Medicare for All’ Is Playing Poorly in Democratic Primaries” (Politico, 8/21/18)
You’ll notice these are not coming from admittedly right-leaning media outlets like Fox or The Wall Street Journal (although they published similar obituaries).
They are coming from the so-called “liberal media,” the kind the rightwing has taken to calling “fake news.”
And although their news is demonstrably not fake, it is corporate in nature, and therefore right-of-center; i.e., not “liberal” at all, and definitely not progressive.
Taking these headlines at face value, the public is lured into the misleading corporate position that Bernie Sanders-camp progressives are not only losing primaries; they are doing so because they are too “far left.”
But despite what the corporate media claims, insurgent Democrats, aka, Progressives, are in fact winning.
Take Rashida Tlaib, who won her primary for the House seat in Michigan’s 13th district. Running unopposed, she will become the first Palestinian-American woman in Congress. Joining her will be Somali refugee Ilhan Omar, who won her primary in Minnesota’s 5th district.
There’s James Thompson, who won the Democratic nomination in Kansas’s 4th district.
Sarah Smith finished second in Washington’s 9th district top-two primary.
State and local races in Colorado and Missouri also celebrated Progressive victories.
Missouri voters approved a ballot measure to overturn the state’s anti-union right-to-work laws.
“Iron Stache” Randy Bryce emerged victorious in his primary for House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Wisconsin’s 1st district seat.
In Connecticut’s 5th district, there’s Jahana Hayes, who is likely to become the state’s first female African-American congressional Democrat.
In Sen. Sanders’s own state of Vermont, Christine Hallquist won the gubernatorial primary to become the first transgender woman nominated for a major political office.
In November, former journalist Danica Roem, the first openly transgender person ever elected to a state legislature, helped flip Virginia’s House of Delegates from a Republican majority to the minority after she ousted anti-LGBTQ Bob Marshall, who served since 1992.
The Virginia House of Delegates also seated Lee Carter, a single-payer healthcare advocate who promised during his campaign to expand Medicaid access.
New York City incumbent mayor Bill de Blasio won a second term against Republican state lawmaker Nicole Malliotakis and several third-party candidates.
Seven Sanders-inspired aldermen candidates won in Somerville, Mass. this past November: Matthew McLaughlin, JT Scott, Ben Ewen-Campen, Jesse Clingan, and at-large aldermen Bill White, Mary Jo Rossetti, and Will Mbah.
Fordham Law professor, activist, former congressional and 2014 New York gubernatorial candidate, Zephyr Teachout, may have lost her Sanders-backed bid for Congress against Republican John Faso, but she is facing a primary for New York Attorney General on September 13.
Pennsylvania experienced a Democratic Socialist wave in May when four candidates–Summer Lee, Sara Innamorato, Kristin Seale, and Elizabeth Fiedler–emerged victorious from their bids for state house seats.
Of course, who can ignore Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez‘s unseating of incumbent New York Rep. Joe Crowley, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus?
The media surely isn’t ignoring her.
The “liberal” CBS News labeled her the “Sarah Palin of the left.”
We must respect the media.
It is our “fourth estate,” and we must never cease defending its role in preserving free speech.
The media is not “the enemy of the people” despite what the president blurts.
But because cable news outlets are corporations with oil, pharmaceutical, and telecommunication executives sitting on their boards of directors, they broadcast what is economically deferential.
They are also multi-million-dollar businesses with bottom lines; therefore, wonky news like climate change and granular analyses of policies are, with few exceptions, ignored.
Despite the “liberal” label, when was the last time CNN or MSNBC covered climate change–or even mentioned it?
What about Medicare-for-All?
How many people getting their news exclusively from corporate cable outfits are aware House Democrats formed a Medicare-for-All Caucus last month?
And the GOP “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act?” Any mention of it?
During the 2016 presidential election cycle, there was plenty of talk about Hillary Clinton’s emails, the Clinton Foundation, and the Benghazi investigation.
But how many voters uninvolved with Clinton’s campaign could articulate the Democratic nominee’s policies on issues that mattered most with working Americans, like income inequality, college affordability, and the minimum wage?
All they “knew” was Clinton was “hiding something.”
Donald Trump, though? He mastered the media’s hunger for salacious clickbait.
According to the Tyndall Report, between Jan. 1 and Labor Day 2016, Trump’s campaign garnered 822 minutes of screen time on ABC, CBS, and NBC’s nightly news broadcasts.
Clinton received 386 minutes, 89 minutes of which were on the email investigation.
In 2015 alone, out of over 1,000 minutes of national broadcast television airtime, Donald Trump received 327 minutes–almost one-third; Hillary Clinton, 121 minutes; Bernie Sanders, 20 minutes.
ABC World News Tonight alone provided 81 minutes to Donald Trump, 20 seconds to Bernie Sanders.
Democracy Now! journalist Amy Goodman asked Sen. Sanders what he felt he did to be given such short shrift. He responded:
“We had the misfortune of actually trying to talk about the problems facing America and providing real solutions. Trump was tweeting out about how ugly or horrible or disgusting or terrible his opponents were, in really ugly terms. Perfect for the media. That is a great 12-second sound bite. But to talk about why the middle class is in decline or why we have massive levels of income and wealth inequality can’t be done in 12 seconds. And second of all, it’s not something that they are, frankly, terribly interested in.”
CBS executive chairman, president, and CEO, Leslie Moonves, admitted Trump’s media windfall when he told The Hollywood Reporter in February 2016:
“It [the money Trump’s campaign is making the network] may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.”
It’s unfair to blame Democrats for “not talking about the issues.”
Most of us just aren’t hearing it because, as NYMag’s Daily Intelligencer, reports:
“The Democratic Party is quite focused on promoting a progressive critique of the GOP’s positions on taxes, health care, and social spending, because it knows that Republicans are deeply vulnerable on those issues. MSNBC, CNN, and the broader mainstream media, however, are obsessed with the White House’s myriad scandals – because they know that a federal investigation into the American president’s potential ties to the Kremlin (and/or porn stars and/or white-collar crime) is ratings gold — while daily broadcasts reiterating the regressive implications of the GOP’s tax law and health-care plans would be anything but.”
Image credit: Live Action