Thursday, October 15, 2015

Sanders and Media bias

Bernie Sanders is by far not my favorite member of Congress, and looking at the Senate and governors across the country, he doesn't even make my top ten candidates who I believe would make a fantastic president (Warren, O'Malley, Inslee, Whitehouse, Feingold, Wyden, are six politicians who I believe would make far better presidents off the top of my head) in terms of their ability to lead and stay consistent. But, Sanders beats all but one of these candidates in his current run for the President because he is actually running, and he is beating O'Malley not because of any major policy improvements he has (he is actually far less progressive than O'Malley given O'Malley's leadership in Maryland) but he has been able to pronounce a very angry and often inaccurate, such as his comment about the Iraq War and various incorrect economic statistics, message which people identify with in our current debate atmosphere as opposed to O'Malley's extremely well researched calm explanation about very distressing issues which he exemplified in the last debate. I do not want to see O'Malley be like Sanders, I'd much rather see Sanders be like O'Malley, but that is sadly what turns people on, which is not a new phenomenon in American politics. Going back all the way to the founding of our country we have frequently voted for personality over policy. (The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents) It is a great shame that O'Malley does not have the social media organizing team that Sanders has put together in an Obamaesque fashion. This is the only reason why O'Malley is not winning the election.

Despite this, there is a lot of talk about the media silencing Sanders as much as they can, which I find despicable. Yellow journalism is by no means a new event in American politics, it stretches all the way back to when George Washington was President and has been an integral part of American politics since then. Albeit, it demonstrates where the media's loyalties lie and that they do not lie with the American people. While I do not care for Sanders I like him far more than I like Hillary Clinton, and if he ends up being the nominee I will vote for him over any Republican candidate.

What is the solution to media bias? We cannot have the government shutting down publications it sees as too biased of course which raises all sorts of questions about who will get shut down versus who will not, and who will be the judge of who is practicing yellow journalism and who is reporting accurately. The only solution I can see is improving our history and civics education in this country so people have a better ability to understand various ideologies which these candidates are exemplifying, and learn how to find out the truth in these various issue in a meaningful way which is not prone to bias. This truly is one of the greatest challenges for a democracy, how to foster civil debate while also bringing forward the best and the brightest to lead the country.

Perhaps more than anything about the candidates, we got an excellent lesson on which media to trust for giving accurate accounts (NPR) and which media to toss for only reporting on their candidate and being biased. (New York Times for imbalance and CNN for deleting their poll on who won their debate after it showed a Sanders victory)