new poll released Thursday found that Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading the 2020 Democratic presidential field in California—but you wouldn’t have known it by reading the Los Angeles Times’ original headline on the survey, which mentioned Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden, but not the senator from Vermont.

“Warren and Biden lose ground in California’s shifting 2020 Democratic race,” read the newspaper’s initial headline which, in the face of backlash, was later changed to, “Warren and Biden lose ground, Sanders moves ahead in California’s shifting 2020 Democratic race.”

While the Times changed its headline, it did not alter the body of the story, which doesn’t mention Sanders until the third paragraph.

“The Democratic presidential contest in California remains extremely fluid—but not enough, at least so far, to provide an opening for Michael Bloomberg,” reads the story’s lede paragraph.

The poll, conducted for the Times by the U.C. Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, found that Sanders is leading the California presidential primary race at 24% support and has gained 5% since September.

Warren polled in second place at 22% (down 7% since September), Biden in third at 14% (down 6% since September), and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg in fourth at 12% (up 6% since September). The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 4%.

“The person who gained ground is not allowed to be in the headline,” Faiz Shakir, Sanders’ campaign manager, tweeted in response to the Times original headline.

Despite Sanders’ jump since September, the Times framed the survey solely around Warren and Biden’s fall.

“That erosion has benefited Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who narrowly tops the primary field,” the Times reported.

The new survey, the Times noted, also found that Sanders is leading 2020 Democratic field in California “on three other attributes—being the candidate who would bring the right kind of change to Washington (28%), the one who comes closest to sharing voters’ values (27%) and the candidate who best understands the problems of ‘people like you’ (28%).”

The newspaper’s treatment of Sanders on this poll was for many observers just the latest example of a trend by many mainstream outlets of ignoring, sidelining, or otherwise downplaying the Sanders presidential campaign—a phenomenon some refer to as the #BernieBlackout.

Wait, before you go…

If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.

Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.

Support Truthdig