- Accuracy in Media - https://www.aim.org -

Sanders gets pass after being only major candidate to skip 55th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma

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 [1] 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 [2] the commemoration and the candidates that did attend, but buried Sanders’ absence — if they mentioned it at all. They covered [3] Mike Bloomberg’s speech at a Selma church, at which parishioners turned their backs on him. They covered comments from Sens. Elizabeth Warren [4] (Mass.) and a speech from former Vice President Joe Biden [4]. 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.