Accuracy in Media

The media is anti-Bernie Sanders, at least, according to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

This anti-media narrative put out by the Sanders campaign has become a central part of his 2020 presidential campaign to the point that NBC News published an article on the subject.

The mainstream media has often claimed that President Donald Trump is fighting a war against the media, but the NBC News article admitted the issues with that specific media narrative.

The article, headlined, “Why Bernie Sanders can’t stand the media,” detailed Sanders’s history of animosity toward the media. It began with a story of Sanders’s congressional campaign in 1988, when a CBS 60 Minutes crew came to profile him in Vermont. He took the camera crew into the local Associated Press bureau office “to grill them for not covering his recent press conference.” Chris Graff, former Vermont Associated Press bureau chief, wrote in his 2006 memoir, “Sanders’ criticism, however, was in a whole different league.”

NBC News admitted that although “every politician complains about the press,” Sanders is now numbered among those who have focused on media criticism as a campaign strategy. The article said, “But few – the current president aside – have made media criticism as central to their message as Sanders.” It added that Sanders “has long viewed the mainstream media as a bulwark of the political and economic system he has spent his life trying to tear down.”

On the campaign trail, Sanders suggested the Washington Post’s owner, billionaire and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, has a hand in its media coverage. Post editor Marty Barton called that suggestion a “conspiracy theory.”

Although the campaign offered a conciliatory softball game between reporters and the campaign staff, NBC News wrote that “it may do little to cool decades of enmity.” Sanders “has consistently leveled a structural critique of the news media” because he views it as a corrupt establishment body and it is similar to President Trump’s messaging. Sanders’s criticism of the media can “serve as a convenient excuse for Sanders to explain away problems in his campaigns or dodge tough questions… [similar to] Trump dismisses reporting he doesn’t like as “fake news.”

Despite Sanders campaign claims that his campaign is being underreported, several sources found that Sanders has received significant coverage. NBC News cited FiveThirtyEight, a data journalism site, which found Sanders is among the most-covered candidates, and a Harvard University study of the 2016 campaign. The study found though his coverage trailed Hillary Clinton’s, it was “the most positive coverage of any of the presidential contenders.”

Either way, Bernie Sanders’s anti-media campaign does echo similar strains as President Trump’s and as a result, NBC News admitted the similarity between the two campaign’s rhetoric in the 2020 presidential election cycle.

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