CNN’s Reliable Sources busted the media for inventing the narrative that Democrats are divided.
STELTER: Boy, it is a convenient narrative, but is it maybe a little too convenient?
Let’s bring back our all-star panel. CNN political commentator Carl Bernstein, the author of “A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton”, in Washington, American University media professor Jane Hall, and here in New York, “Daily Beast” editor-in-chief John Avlon.
Carl, we need a reality check here. Are political reporters and TV producers exaggerating this Dem civil war?
BERNSTEIN: Yes. We’re hardly up to 1968 and Abbie Hoffman and the Yippies and blood in the streets of Chicago. I think there’s abundant evidence that the Democrats will coalesce around their nominee, presumably Hillary Clinton, maybe Bernie Sanders….This is hardly a huge schism the way it’s being played on the air.
STELTER: Yes, we heard from Obama aides in 2008 saying it was more intense than Obama and Clinton than it is now. But, Jane, maybe one of the differences is there’s much more social media. There’s actually pro-Bernie media that exists out there that is encouraging people to buy into this belief that what happened in Nevada was chaotic and that the system is rigged against him.
Do you think that that is a detriment here, that there are many more partisan options for people?
HALL: Well, you know, I think that the media narrative is reflecting a genuine concern on the part of the Clinton people. She needs to win the passion and the votes of young people, in particular, and he has created, I think, a movement that perhaps has even surprised him….There is a genuine fight going on. I don’t think the media are overplaying this. This could have very bad impacts for Hillary Clinton at the convention.
STELTER: I hear you, John. Go ahead, John.
AVLON: I’m just not buying this.
AVLON: No. I do think it’s too convenient, the media narrative. There are deep, deep divides beneath the Republican Party, which is essentially in warlord status right now.
The Democrats do have increasing divisions on an increasingly activist left, which is insurgent, which Bernie Sanders represents, righteous anger about a rigged system. You see it in the rise of Elizabeth Warren and Bill de Blasio, and other folks in the progressive populist left..
But the party will rally around Hillary Clinton. This poll today — the poll we’re talking about today about high negatives exists with a party that’s still conducting a pretty contentious primary. And more importantly, you know, hating Hillary Clinton has been an industry on the far right for a quarter century.
That baggage exists. It is real. But whatever enthusiasm gap exists in Hillary Clinton among the Democratic Party will be erased when they focus on the real possibility of President Trump.
It is rare to see fellow members of the media speak honestly about how the press shapes storylines and narratives that they use to fuel ongoing coverage. The media had to switch gears after the Republican resistance to Trump fell apart, so they quickly came up with the Democratic division narrative. The truth is that the presidential contest has entered the traditional May limbo phase. The Clinton and Trump campaigns will clinch the number of delegates that they need in a couple of weeks. The cable networks have a lot of airtime to fill, and very little drama to discuss.
The media needed something to talk about. The rowdiness of Nevada Democratic convention happened at a perfect time to fill the gap. Democrats are not divided. Polling trends suggest that Hillary Clinton will get a big bump after the primary ends. When Clinton officially becomes the Democratic nominee, Democrats will come home and focus on wiping the floor with Donald Trump.
The Democratic division talk coming out the media is empty noise. As Rachel Maddow pointed out, the Democratic primary is behaving in a very normal way. There is nothing unusual happening on the Democratic side.
The bored media has created a storyline, and it was nice to see CNN’s Reliable Sources giving the media’s role in making the news a public airing.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is 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