In a departure from his routine of emphasizing policy issues such as climate change, student debt and health care, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders swiveled and launched a stinging criticism of the aims of American media outlets when visiting Idaho on Friday.
“What the media tries to do is divide us up and suggest this country is hopelessly divided and everybody hates everybody. Sometimes we forget . . . nobody agrees with anybody else 100 percent of the time. I think sometimes the divisions are not quite as deep as some would make out,” Sanders stated in Idaho Falls.
How effective the media is at shaping opinion was not addressed by Sanders, but the democratic socialist from Vermont does have a point: Trust in media remains at an all-time low.
As many are aware, a glaring deficit exists in many media outlets and news publications: Both are dominated by corporate interests and lack true political and intellectual mixtures.
Sanders may not have intended to address the media’s leanings; however, the most consistent criticisms of the media are how its coverage creates an imbalance in the distribution of the news.
Perhaps Sanders was also alluding to social media, which has exploded onto our cultural scene and has far too often been used as a weapon to eviscerate political opponents, often anonymously, for purposes of excitement, retaliation or simply to alleviate personal boredom.
For Sanders, a man who has routinely avoided the smear politics during his campaign, this was an unexpected moment; and it is extremely rare for a presidential candidate to broadside an institution which is vital to electoral success.
[Gallup] [The Hill] [Photo courtesy newsroom.unl.edu]