Accuracy in Media

On Sunday, every major Democratic candidate but Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) visited Selma, Ala., to walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge commemorating the 55th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

Instead, Sanders held a rally in Los Angeles.

But the mainstream media gave him a pass. Only Mediaite published a story asking why he missed the commemoration:

At a press conference in Utah Monday, a reporter asked Sanders about that choice, saying “Senator in your first test with African-American voters in South Carolina, you frankly did not do well. What do you do to improve that, and does it help that you didn’t show up in a place like Selma, where most of you are rivals were yesterday?”

“No, we showed up in L.A., where we had 15,000 people out last night,” Sanders said, referring to a rally that was headlined by “Public Enemy Radio,” a version of superstar rap group Public Enemy, fronted by Chuck D.

“We did not do as well as we had hoped, absolutely, but I think if you look at some recent polls, actually, nationally, there was a poll that just came out, I think, from Morning Consult if I’m not mistaken, which had us running ahead of Biden with the African-American vote,” Sanders continued. The poll that Sanders selected showed him tied with Biden among black voters, not leading.

Several outlets covered the commemoration and the candidates that did attend, but buried Sanders’ absence — if they mentioned it at all. They covered Mike Bloomberg’s speech at a Selma church, at which parishioners turned their backs on him. They covered comments from Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and a speech from former Vice President Joe Biden. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, who have since dropped out, and even former candidate Tom Steyer got mentioned.

The story was important enough to report – but why did Sanders get a pass on skipping it? Democrats on Twitter excoriated Sanders for it,  but no major outlet singled Sanders out. The outlets’ silence equates to giving him a pass, as Democrats’ consensus on Twitter shows it was a mistake. Sanders has branded himself as the everyman candidate who cares most about equality and not being beholden to donors, but he skipped a civil rights memorial in favor of a rally for himself.

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