Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) pulled no punches by calling out the media for refusing to inform and educate people.
Video of Sen. Sanders on Moyers & Company:
BILL MOYERS: Well, that’s interesting. Because, you know, I’ve seen you quite recently on television. It’s always the same questions and always the same five headlines. What’s the story that the corporate press is not letting you tell?
BERNIE SANDERS: Oh, my God. You see, this is the issue. I mean, I’ve been on a million of these shows. They say, ‘Here’s the story of the day. What do you think about the Secret Service? What do you think about this? What do you think about Ebola?’ All of those issues are important.
But the issues that impact ordinary people, is they’re asking why, despite all of the productivity, people are working longer hours for lower wages. Have we had that discussion, Bill? Have you ever heard anybody talking about it? They’re asking how come we’ve had this unfettered free-trade policies that have resulted in the loss of millions of good-paying jobs and you got both parties still saying, well, that’s pretty good.
And this issue of income and wealth inequality, wow. One percent owning 37 percent of the wealth in America. Bottom 60 percent owning 1.7 percent. One family, the Walton family of Wal-Mart, owning more wealth than the bottom 40 percent. Do you think we should be talking about that issue? You can’t get the discussion going on TV.
BILL MOYERS: Why?
BERNIE SANDERS: Because it’s not in the interest of the corporations who own the networks to actually be educating the American people so that are debating the real issues. It’s much better to deflect attention away from those issues and get into the story of the day.
There was some guy who was a football fan who walked halfway across the country. Boy, that’s a really big story. Or, Chris Christie yelled at somebody. History will certainly remember this as one of the important issues of the 21st century.
It is widely bemoaned that many Americans are uninformed, but the vast majority of people get their news from television. On television, news has not only been corporatized, it has also been turned into infotainment.
Political discussions only focus on two or more people yelling at each other. Issues have been deemed to be “too complicated” for viewers to understand. Fox News has built a media empire off of nothing more than confirming biases and telling their viewers how smart they are. There is very little news gathering being done on political shows. The shows analyze and argue, but rarely do they ever break new ground.
The media’s distaste for the issues that impact regular people is the main reason why Sen. Sanders has such a difficult time getting his message out. The reason the media are comfortable parroting Republican positions is because the corporate press has become a kindred soul to the GOP.
The media and the Republican Party both don’t care about the struggles of regular people. Walmart buys oodles of advertising, so a critical story about the role that the nation’s largest private sector employer plays in worsening income inequality never gets seen.
As long as the media powers remain guided by corporations and the profit motive, the American people will continue to be grossly uninformed. An informed population is the greatest weapon of change, which is why the corporate owned media works so hard to keep folks in the dark.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association