Not Quite All Things Considered: Why the Mainstream Media Discounts Bernie Sanders
Not Quite All Things Considered: Why the Mainstream Media Discounts Bernie Sanders
By John Atcheson /

Recently, on All Things Considered—you know, that bastion of liberal media—Mara Liasson, talking about the prospect of Joe Biden running for President said:

There are many Democrats who think it would be good for Hillary Clinton because she'd have a serious opponent, and it would help her become a better candidateRight now, she's basically running against herself and her problems. (emphasis added)

Do you detect a missing elephant in the room, here?  Bernie Sanders is ahead in New Hampshire and pulling close to even in Iowa, rocketing up the polls across the country, and pulling in record-breaking crowds at every stop, but Hillary’s “running against herself” and doesn’t face a “serious” candidate unless Joe Biden gets in the race.  In fact, throughout the entire exchange between Rachel Martin and Mara Liasson, Bernie Sanders isn’t even mentioned. 

Talk about clueless.  And NPR isn’t alone. 

When Bernie is mentioned by pundits in the MSM, it’s usually quickly followed by a statement that describes him as “unelectable” or “not a serious candidate.”  The New York Times, The Washington Post, the LA Times, and the major networks have all adopted this meme.

So what’s going on? 

Well, money explains part of it.  Federal campaigns are expected to spend $4.4 billion in the 2016 election cycle, and typically, two thirds of that will go to advertising.  So the MSM—which, as Bernie Sanders points out, is dominated by just 6 major corporations—has a vested interest in ignoring a candidate who’s serious about campaign finance reform.  So do the various fat-cats who are purchasing candidates outright.

But money doesn’t explain it all. For example, NPR doesn’t directly profit from campaign spending, nor do progressives like Bill Maher, or any of the political pundits from academia and bi-partisan think tanks. Yet most mindlessly repeat the “Bernie can’t win” mantra or ignore him altogether.

So, why is the chattering class missing the elephant in our collective national living room?

Well, basically they’re in the same position as the hapless Mr. Jones, in Bob Dylan’s Ballad of a Thin Man: ” ‘Cause something is happening here but you don't know what it is. Do you, Mr. Jones?”

And what, exactly is happening here? 

To understand this we have to go back to the 2014 mid-terms when the MSM wascompletely blindsided by the scale of the Republican domination at the polls.  Oh, they were predicting the usual gains an opposition party typically gets in the mid-terms, but nothing like what happened. Many of the inside-the-beltway pundits interpreted this as yet more evidence of their favorite delusion: that the US is a right-of-center country politically. 

Of course, it is no such thing, as polls have been showing for some time now. 

The fact is, the real winner in 2014 was “none of the above.”  With Democrats running from Obamacare and anything else Republicans happened to be attacking—which was just about everything short of bat-shit crazy right-wing lunacy—the progressive majority had no choice and they shunned the elections like they were Ebola transmission centers.  In fact, 2014 set a record for the lowest turnout (34%) since World War II—and the only reason that was lower than 2014 was that a sizable portion of voting age males was overseas and unable to vote. 

This kind of turnout shouldn’t surprise anyone. If people’s choices are between a Democrat who seems to have no real convictions, or a Republican who cares passionately about issues grounded in fear, hate, bigotry, jingoism, sexism and/or greed why bother? So the frightened, hateful, sexist, jingoists showed up in disproportionate numbers.

This was the culmination of more than three decades of Democratic candidates who were in many respects, indistinguishable from Republicans.  They were either owned by corporate America, or too afraid to run on their beliefs, or some deadly brew of the two together, and voters had finally had enough.  Throw in Citizens United, and the stage was set.

The final straw was that Obama’s hope and change ended up in hopelessness and despair, with Goldman Sachs south running the Treasury Department, more war, more Patriot Act nonsense, and a series of pre-emptive capitulations and “grand bargains” that would have rolled back the New Deal.  The vast majority of voters simply decided it was a rigged game and they stayed home in droves.

So here, Ms Liasson, MSM, and Mr. Jones is what’s happening.  For the first time since Reagan, a Democrat—well, actually an Independent—is running on progressive policies and giving people a real choice.  And the likes of Hillary Clinton and even Joe Biden, are going to get their heads handed to them.

So Mr. Jones and friends, the self-interested and deluded may continue to ignore, dismiss or discredit Mr. Sanders, but the voters surely will not. 

John Atcheson is author of the novel, A Being Darkly Wise, an eco-thriller and Book One of a Trilogy centered on global warming. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the San Jose Mercury News and other major newspapers. Atcheson’s book reviews are featured on

0.0 ·
What's Next
Trending Today
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 28,529 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Noam Chomsky Has 'Never Seen Anything Like This'
Chris Hedges · 10,518 views today · Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 3,557 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Why I Didn't Vote Trump or Hillary
Joe Brewer · 2,639 views today ·   This is my ballot. It arrived in the mail where I live in Washington state — and I’ve already sent it back to the elections committee. Note how I didn’t vote for either...
How Big Banks Launder Money and Get Away With It
9 min · 2,577 views today · 'I wrote about how money laundering was actually done... they spiked it.' Parliamentary Candidate David Malone was a popular second choice in the UK Green Party leadership...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 1,888 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
Heartbreaking Animation Reveals Plight of Animals Under Threat of Extinction
3 min · 1,799 views today · This stunning and heartbreaking animation gives voice to animals under threat from human activity. Made as part of the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, it features a...
Three Massive Mergers - Millions for One Bank and a Disaster for Food, Water, and Climate
Wenonah Hauter · 1,550 views today · In addition to advising on all three mega-mergers, Credit Suisse is playing a big role behind the scenes of the Dakota Access pipeline.
Donald Trump Is the Mirror and Hillary Clinton Is the Mask
Chris Agnos · 1,338 views today · Disclaimer: I do not support Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton for president. I think the scope of the political debate is far too narrow for the kinds of actions that need to...
A Beautiful Reflection on What It Means to Be Human
8 min · 1,241 views today · Hello! We are Oh Wonder, a musical duo from London. We believe that everyone is equal. We are all human. We all deserve the world. And we can build that equality by sharing...
HyperNormalisation (2016)
161 min · 976 views today · We live in a time of great uncertainty and confusion. Events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control. Donald Trump, Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 914 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
10 Quotes From an Oglala Lakota Chief That Will Make You Question Everything About Our Society
Wisdom Pills · 809 views today · Luther Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who, among a few rare others such as Charles Eastman, Black Elk and Gertrude Bonnin occupied the rift between the way of...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 667 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
Schooling the World (2010)
66 min · 639 views today · If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th...
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 483 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
Donald and Hobbes Is Genius
Various · 419 views today · Some clever folk have been replacing precocious 6-year-old Calvin, from the Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, with Donald Trump and the results are, well, take a look...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 415 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
The Burden of the New Story
Adebayo Akomolafe · 357 views today · The 'new story' - that longed for milieu when all is right with the world and things are set straight - seems to be taking its sweet time coming. Why?
Planet Earth II Could Be Best Nature Doc Ever Made
3 min · 351 views today · 10 years ago Planet Earth changed our view of the world. Now we take you closer than ever before. This is life in all its wonder. This is Planet Earth II. A decade ago, the...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Not Quite All Things Considered: Why the Mainstream Media Discounts Bernie Sanders