Accuracy in Media

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced that he will drop out of the Democratic Party’s presidential primary, paving the way for former vice president Joe Biden to be the party nominee to face off against President Donald Trump. However, the mainstream media is partly at fault for Sanders’ campaign struggles due to its biased coverage in favor of Biden.

The media often overlooked Biden’s multiple on-the-campaign-trail gaffes, in addition to past statements and political positions. Recently, Biden referred to the Hubei province in China as “Luhan,” when no such provincial name exists in China, but the media did not cover his gaffe. Most likely, Biden was trying to refer to the Chinese city of Wuhan, which was the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

There is a plethora of other Biden-related news that the mainstream media ignored, such as the sexual assault allegations levied against him by a former Senate aide of his, Tara Reade. Neither did the media cover Biden’s past struggles as a presidential candidate in 1987 and in 2008. In 1987, he dropped out due to a plagiarism allegation and false claims about his law school graduation ranking before participating in a single primary. In 2008, public gaffes derailed his campaign when he said that then-Sen. Barack Obama was “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”

Sanders had legitimate gripes about the mainstream media’s coverage of his campaign, lashing out at MSNBC for unfair coverage. Multiple MSNBC anchors warned Democratic Party voters of Sanders’ politics, with former host Chris Matthews leading the way and alleging Sanders’ socialism could lead to public executions in New York City’s Central Park.

Though the media did whiff on reporting about Sanders’ past political statements and positions, such as campaigning for the Socialist Workers Party in 1980 and 1984, the media’s selective coverage of Sanders’ campaign was a stark contrast to the media’s favorable Biden coverage.

Much of the media coverage blamed Sanders’s lack of appeal to older establishment voters and minority voters, but it should recognize its own role in Sanders’ fall from party frontrunner to campaign dropout.

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