Accuracy in Media

During Wednesday’s Democratic Party presidential debate in Las Vegas, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) reversed his 2016 stance on the party’s presidential nomination and delegate count. MSNBC moderator Chuck Todd asked the presidential candidates if they would support the candidate with the “most delegates” at the party’s convention, and all candidates except Sanders said they would not fall in line at the convention.

Todd asked, “There’s a very good chance none of you are going to have enough delegates to the Democratic National Convention to clench this nomination, OK?”

“If that happens, I want all of your opinions on this. Should the person with the most delegates at the end of this primary season be the nominee, even if they are short of a majority?”

Sanders responded to the question and said, “Well, the process includes 500 super-delegates on the second ballot. So I think that the will of the people should prevail, yes. The person who has the most votes should become the nominee.” He was the sole “yes” vote with five “no” votes from the rest of the primary field.

His response was the direct opposite of his 2016 presidential campaign, when he ran for the Democratic Party nomination against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In 2016, Sanders called the nomination process “rigged” and withheld his support for Clinton, who had received the majority of party delegates. Although Sanders later threw his support behind Clinton at the party’s convention in July 2016, he made it clear that he disagreed with the nomination process and how Clinton received the majority of delegates.

Other than Fox News, the mainstream media ignored Sanders’ reversal on the issue. Both fact-check pieces at NBC News and CNN missed pointing out Sanders’ reversal.

It is yet another example of the mainstream media choosing to ignore Sanders’ past statements and political moves, such as ignoring his past praise of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro and his longtime support for socialist causes. It is important for the mainstream media to accurately and fairly report on Sanders’ past during the primary process because it is a part of their job as media professionals, but also due to the ethical implications of their jobs. The media should treat each candidate fairly, which includes unearthing and reporting on each candidates’ past statements and actions. It failed to do so with Sanders and therefore continued this disturbing trend of ignoring Sanders’ past.

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