Accuracy in Media

The upcoming Democratic National Committee presidential debate, scheduled for December 19 in Los Angeles, will not feature a minority candidate on the stage. The lack of diversity among the Democratic Party challengers led to multiple claims about how the nomination process is flawed.

The mainstream media agreed with Democratic Party operatives, lawmakers, and strategists that the system was not tailored to promote and support minority candidates. However, the media missed an important point: What if the candidates were flawed to being with?

CNN’s article on the lack of racial diversity quoted a party strategist that blamed the nomination process for not being “set up to include candidates of color” due to the “systemic barriers that still exist for non-white candidates.” Another party operative told CNN that he was disappointed that the party was not “investing in people of color as candidates.”

CNN quoted Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and former Housing and Urban Development Sec. Julián Castro, both of whom reiterated similar points about a rigged nomination system that discriminated against minority candidates. But, nowhere in CNN’s article did it put the blame on the candidates themselves for not garnering enough donor and grassroots support. It also ignored the fact that former president Barack Obama thrived in the current nomination process, beating the heavily-favored candidate Hillary Clinton in 2008.

Politico chimed in on the lack of racial diversity, interviewing multiple Democratic lawmakers and strategists. One lawmaker, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), blamed racism in the nomination process and said, “Systemic racism permeates everything in this country. I think Democrats are doing some soul-searching right now. … I don’t know if white Democrats are really stepping up and looking at how the system is biased and prevents others from coming through.”

For example, neither media outlet discussed why Sen. Kamala Harris’ (Calif.) presidential campaign flopped, which many pointed to her campaign’s lack of cohesive and consistent messaging on issues. Instead, the reader is subjected to quotes from Democratic Party sources that blamed the nomination process as a chief culprit for the lack of candidate diversity and did not put the blame on the candidates.

Photo by Cory Booker




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