Mainstream Media Didn’t Hold Back in Headlines About Clinton and Sanders
If you were one of millions of Americans who went to the polls Tuesday night in the hope of putting Bernie Sanders in the White House, you were probably disappointed with the outcome of the most recent round of primaries. But supporters of Hillary Clinton were likely thrilled, and it seems that much of the mainstream media joined in on the revelry.
Amid the onslaught of news coverage surrounding Clinton’s victories, perhaps the media was simply trying to engage readers with gripping headlines. But in an election season that has already seen complaints of media bias against Sanders, several of Tuesday night’s top headlines seemed to bask in Sanders’ defeat.
“Bernie Sanders has been vanquished,” declared Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times, before going on to praise Clinton’s “uncharacteristically lyrical” acceptance speech and Sanders’ failed effort to “claw the nomination” from Clinton. An opinion piece, it was posted to the LA Times Facebook page among a slew of other primary reports without any acknowledgement that it was an opinion piece.
The Huffington Post, meanwhile, published this headline before the California polls had even closed: “The Bernie Sanders Campaign Didn’t Matter.” Author Zach Carter, a senior political economy reporter for the site, focused the majority of the article on the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate, but eventually he returned to the aggressive stance of the headline and stated:
Will the campaign matter in defeat? No. Bernie Sanders did not create the movement that political pundits like to credit him with. He has, instead, spent a year serving rather effectively as the voice of people left behind by a broken economy.
Last but not least was this striking proclamation from The New York Times: “Hillary Clinton Made History, but Bernie Sanders Stubbornly Ignored It.” In this piece, authors Michael Barbaro and Yamiche Alcindor claim that Sanders “basked” and “bragged” in “a speech of striking stubbornness.” They add that party unity “is the farthest thing from his mind.”
Perhaps these headlines shouldn’t be surprising, given mainstream media’s coverage of Sanders (or lack of coverage of third-party candidates like Jill Stein) throughout the election season. But for supposedly unbiased reporters to discount the importance of Sanders’ contribution to our political system is dishonest reporting. He has mobilized millions of Americans who are disenchanted with this country’s established political system. Regardless of the next steps his campaign takes, Sanders and his supporters are not going away.
Sanders’ refusal to quietly disappear after these losses isn’t arrogant or cocky—it’s an acknowledgement of the issues Clinton still needs to address before tackling Donald Trump in the general election. Trump, whom the media love to hate, who they think drives traffic, who is a constant source of inflammatory headlines, is certainly an easier source of revenue for mainstream media than Sanders.
As much as the media would like to begin the classic good-vs.-evil coverage of Clinton and Trump, Sanders provides a third voice that deserves to be heard. Sanders himself said Tuesday night that the fight isn’t over. For the media to keep pretending that it is, and that his campaign has not contributed anything to this election season, is insulting.
—Posted by Emma NilesWAIT, BEFORE YOU GO…
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