Yes, the Corporate Media is at War with Bernie. It is a Class War.
Many in the corporate media are aghast at the Senator Sanders’ suggestion that the media is being unfair. Some even went as far as claiming that it is a conspiracy theory! However, it is anything but. In fact, it is the most obvious thing in the world. Corporate media has every incentive to take actions to defeat Senator Sanders for a variety of reasons.
Reason 1: Corporate media is made up of corporations. Corporations, by definition, are motivated by profit motive. They are literally required to maximize their profits. Senator Sanders is running on a platform that directly threatens the power, profits, and influence of corporations. He has called out the fact that corporations used to pay far more in taxes than they do today. He has also called out the tremendous power of lobbyists which legally bribe politicians to do their bidding. Most lobbyists are employed by corporations or organizations that are funded by corporations.
Reason 2: Most of the major figures that run the corporate media companies and their major news anchors are very well paid, many making millions of dollars of a year. Senator Sanders has discussed raising taxes on the wealthy in a variety of ways, including raising income taxes on the top brackets, creating a single payer healthcare system that would save more for 97% of Americans but cost more for those in the top 3%, and adding a transaction fee on stock sales. Each and every one of them has a personal incentive to defeat Senator Sanders.
Reason 3: Corporate media generates its revenue by selling advertising minutes during their shows. This time is purchased by corporations, all of which are threatened by the issues in reason 1. Additionally, many of the ads are purchased by corporations in fields that are very specifically targeted Sanders’ platform, such as arms producers, Big Pharma, and health insurance companies. If Senator Sanders won the presidency and implemented a less a aggressive, less interventionist foreign policy, big companies like Boeing and McDonald-Douglas would stand to lose billions. If he was able to pass his medicare for all single payer healthcare system, pharmaceutical companies would see a decline in profits as drug prices would be negotiated. Parasitical health insurance companies would basically be put out of business.
The corporate media has many incentives to preserve the status quo. They even have reason to support neofascism as an alternative to progressivism or social democracy. This is not to imply that all these individuals are engaging in this behavior at a conscious level. It is also unlikely that bosses are sending down directives demanding reporting that attacks Bernie Sanders. However, it is very likely that the kind of reporters and producers that would report positively or even just more fairly on someone like Senator Sanders would simply not have worked their way up the ranks into positions of power and influence in corporations that have the economic incentives listed above.
Noam Chomsky, who wrote the famous critique on the media titled Manufacturing Consent, said it best when being interviewed by a BBC reporter:
“Reporter: How can you know I am self-censoring?
Chomsky: I’m not saying you are self-censoring. I am sure you believe everything you are saying. But what I am saying is that if you believed something different you wouldn’t be sitting where you are sitting.”
This is not a conspiracy theory. It is simply another example of the type of actions the powerful take when their power is threatened. It also highlights the reasons why it is so important that Bernie Sanders wins the Democratic nomination and the presidency in 2020.
Ron Widelec is a history teacher in NYC, a progressive anti-war activist, and a supporter of Bernie Sanders.