Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign alleged Monday that corporate media outlets are intentionally ignoring—and attempting to undermine—the Vermont senator's significant gains in recent polls with "cartoonishly inaccurate" reporting and headlines.
"In the last week, a wave of polls has emerged showing a genuine, full-on Bernie surge—but you might not know that if you tuned into cable TV or read the headlines from the national press corps," Sanders speechwriter David Sirota wrote in the campaign's Bern Notice newsletter. "In fact, you might not even know Bernie is running for president."
"Despite all this data, many in the national press corps continued to both inaccurately report the polling results—and also pretend Bernie doesn't exist."
—David Sirota, speechwriter for Sen. Bernie Sanders
Sirota highlighted what he described as a widening "divide between The Actual Polls and The Media's Manufactured Narrative."
The polls, Sirota noted, show Sanders is leading in New Hampshire, in second place and gaining momentum (pdf) in Iowa, in second place and surging in the key battleground state of Michigan, and the only 2020 Democrat leading President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
"Despite all this data, many in the national press corps continued to both inaccurately report the polling results—and also pretend Bernie doesn't exist," wrote Sirota, who pointed to several flagrant examples that he said are part of a pattern of media outlets attempting to "ignore and derail" the Sanders campaign's momentum.
"In a report about its own poll showing Bernie in first place in New Hampshire," Sirota wrote. "CNN put an inaccurate graphic up showing Bernie in second place."
The Intercept's Ryan Grim highlighted the error on Twitter:
The poll on the right actually found Sanders in first. It’s even CNN’s poll. They dropped him to 2 anyway. pic.twitter.com/bNDfyZVwJa
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) November 2, 2019
Sirota also cited a report by the New York Times claiming that South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg "eclipsed" Sanders—despite the poll the story was based showing Sanders in second place ahead of Buttigieg.
On other occasions, corporate media outlets like CNN and the Times have simply left Sanders out of the conversation—a phenomenon the Sanders campaign has described as the "Bernie Blackout."
Journalist Ken Klippenstein noted the phenomenon on Monday in response to the Times poll that showed Warren and Sanders—given the margin of error—statistically tied. The newspaper's push notification tellingly left Sanders' name out entirely.
Ah yes, the only three contenders pic.twitter.com/EZurBx2aeE
— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) November 1, 2019
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Last week, Grim highlighted CNN's decision not to give Sanders the headline for its latest Iowa state poll even though he came out on top:
CNN has five articles up about its new NH poll that shows Sanders in front, yet none of the five say that in the headline pic.twitter.com/ECJ11xEYLL
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) October 29, 2019
As the patchwork of evidence mounts, critical observers of the corporate media's treatment of Sanders have now made efforts to compile examples of the behavior:
THREAD: Corporate media's anti-Bernie campaign
There's a constant stream of disinformation & lies about #Bernie2020 coming from corporate media. Let's document it all in one place.
Use this as a resource & definitely add anything I missed.
— Samuel D. Finkelstein II (@CANCEL_SAM) November 2, 2019
"All of these examples are no accident," Sirota tweeted late Monday. "This is a deliberate attempt to erase Bernie Sanders. But here's some news: We're not being erased. We're going to win."
If one of these things happened, you could call it an accident. But all of them together suggest that this is a deliberate effort by billionaire-owned media to erase @BernieSanders, the candidate most powerfully confronting the billionaire class. https://t.co/eo6JljsrPq pic.twitter.com/UJDGilrvhc
— David Sirota (@davidsirota) November 4, 2019
The Sanders team has not been shy about calling out unfair corporate media coverage of the Vermont senator's 2020 presidential campaign. In July, as Common Dreams reported, the campaign fired back at MSNBC after several hosts and contributors to the Comcast-owned network launched a series of fact-free attacks on Sanders.
The Vermont senator in August also called out what he described as biased coverage of the campaign by the Washington Post, owned by world's richest man and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
"We've said from the start that we will have to take on virtually the entire media establishment in this campaign, and so far that has proven to be true," Sanders tweeted at the time. "Ok. Fine. We are ready."