CNN, Cuomo skew delegate counts to mislead viewers
Pro-Clinton bias is obvious, embarrassing
Talking head Chris Cuomo has done it again.
Cuomo interviewed Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn, today on CNN about Bernie Sanders’ chances of winning the Democratic nomination for president. Cuomo, who introduced Ellison as a Bernie supporter, didn’t waste time in trying to get the congressman to admit Sanders should just pack it up and go home.
Cuomo immediately mentioned the “yawning gap” in pledged delegates and superdelegates separating media darling Hillary Clinton and Bernie, the Democratic Party’s weird uncle.
Cuomo then referred to an on-screen graphic that included the supposed totals of pledged and superdelegates for each candidate. There they stood in LARGE FONT: 1074 for Clinton versus 426 for Sanders. When Ellison objected to the way the network presented the totals, Cuomo defensively quipped, “Well, let’s talk about that, congressman. We had both sets of numbers up on the screen.”
Sure you did, Chris. But the difference in font size between pledged delegates and the totals (pledged delegates plus superdelegates) was embarrassing. Perhaps CNN was just sensitive to the needs of its largest demographic, the 55–64 crowd.
Today’s interview was not an isolated incident. CNN consistently makes it seem like Hillary is trouncing Bernie. The network repeatedly claims Clinton is leading by approximately 650 delegates. No, not true. She is leading by 200 delegates and we still have 35 states to go, and many of those states are not in the South where Clinton tends to excel. Two hundred is a drop in the bucket when more than 2,300 delegates are needed to win the nomination.
CNN does this on purpose so that low-information voters will say to themselves, “Well, I really like Bernie, but he doesn’t stand a chance. I saw the delegate vote count on the news, so…I’ll just vote for Hillary.”
Superdelegates, which include all Democratic members of the House and Senate and sitting Democratic governors, can and usually do change their votes. Superdelegates are part of the political establishment, so of course, they initially say they are for the establishment candidate.
Ellison tried to point out this fact to Cuomo, who stubbornly insisted, “The superdelegates count, congressman. They count.”
Ellison was not arguing that superdelegates are irrelevant. He was saying the network’s emphasis on them is misleading. For proof that superdelegates do not have the final say, one only need look back to the 2008 presidential primary process.
Clinton and Barack Obama both courted superdelegates, and Clinton had an early advantage in nabbing them. But as the race wore on — remember, Hillary did not concede until June — the superdelegates began to break Obama’s way.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
But I understand Cuomo’s frustration. He is part of the establishment as well, and this explains why his pro-Clinton bias is so pronounced. He is the son of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo and the brother of current New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. In other words, “journalist” Chris Cuomo is firmly part of the political establishment, which Bernie has in his cross hairs.
Although I understand why Cuomo feels disquieted by a threat to the status quo, as a former journalist this kind of media bias drives me nuts. But Cuomo is just one of CNN’s on-air personalities who fawn over Clinton and dismiss Bernie.
The Clinton News Network — which is owned by Time Warner, a top contributor to Clinton’s 2016 presidential run — suffers from systemic bias. According to OpenSecrets.org, Time Warner has donated approximately $600,000 to Clinton’s campaign. That’s not small change, especially when one considers that the average donation to Bernie’s campaign is $27. It would take about 22,000 Bernie donations to equal one Time Warner donation.
Americans must become more savvy media consumers if we want our democracy to flourish. We must question information presented, seek alternative news sources (Free Speech TV and Democracy Now are solid choices), and even turn off the television.
I got rid of cable television this past summer, and I don’t regret the decision. I now control the amount of cable “news” I watch by going onto YouTube and catching snippets of various programs.
I like my bullshit in small doses.