Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Big Media Continues Its Republican-Style Anti-Bernie Sanders Slant


By Noah

Last Wednesday, Howie posted a detailed analysis of post Democratic debate reactions from the establishment, corporate media who, long before the debate, decided that Hillary Clinton would be declared the debate winner come hell or high water and, surprise, surprise, they came on post-debate and instantly declared her the winner! And, lest you think it was just their opinion, they had on an overwhelmingly disproportionate number of current and former Clinton campaign staffers to back them up!

They did this so fast one could not be blamed for thinking that Hillary Clinton has a very interesting collection of very compromising photos of just about every pundit, talking head, expert, consultant, or whatever cued up on her cell, ready to tweet to the universe.

In the real world, however, Senator Bernie Sanders clearly won all of the assorted focus groups and online polls. Here’s a partial list: Slate online poll, CNN/Time online poll, 9News Colorado, The Street online poll, FOX5 poll, Drudge online poll, Daily Kos online poll, Fusion focus group, FOX News focus group, and, CNN focus group.

The above group of polls and Focus groups covers a wide range of the political spectrum. If organizations as different as Daily Kos and Drudge agree that Sen. Sanders won, there just might be some credence to their findings, at least in an unbiased and logical world.

Obviously, both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders did well. Clinton showed she could be more likable and she looked and acted “Presidential,” and, going in, many people knew next to nothing about Sen. Sanders. It’s safe to say that many viewers liked what he had to say. The evidence is in the polling and focus group results, plus the real time boisterous in-house audience reactions to what the man had to say.

Big Media isn’t stupid. They saw and heard the same things you, me, and the various focus groups did. They just chose to call it otherwise. Not surprisingly, given their usual lean to the right bias, CNN, the host of the debate, ignored their own poll and declared Hillary Clinton the winner. Last week, a claim that CNN even deleted the poll from its website and Facebook page, along with pro-Sanders comments from debate viewers flew across the internet. Even the far right Daily Caller website reported the story.

In any event, CNN did ignore the opinions of their own focus group and poll. Also, the poll was only shown once on air, during the debate, not even after. Only once? CNN later went so far as to quickly replace the poll with a later pro-Clinton piece.

As of this Monday, the original poll is now viewable on the CNN Facebook page but not on the website. The bottom line is that, regardless of whether or not the poll was removed, CNN chose to ignore it. I’m guessing the results just didn’t fit the corporate news agenda. It doesn’t fit the pre-determined narrative. Could the fact that CNN’s parent, TimeWarner is one of Hillary Clinton’s biggest campaign contributors be a factor (See chart in the Nation of Change article at the link)? Or, does Sen. Sanders just strike terror into the charred little hearts of the Big Media movers and shakers?

The FOX focus group, led by Republican pollster and strategist Frank Luntz, was especially interesting. A show of hands survey showed that, before the debate, the majority of the group favored Hillary Clinton. After the debate, they clearly favored Bernie Sanders. Needless to say, FOX joined the rest of their media hack brethren and declared Clinton the winner. Like CNN, they held a focus group whose opinion counted for nothing in their assessment.

Sean Hannity even tried to have it two ways. On his show, not only was Clinton, unanimously, the winner, but Hannity spent a sizable portion of his show whining about how “the liberal media” declaring Clinton the winner was clear proof that “the media” is “in the tank” for Hillary. Go figure. FOX agrees with the “liberal media” about the media declared debate results out of one side of their mouth while whining about the same results out of the other. Are they all in the same tank? I guess it’s kind of like how FOX seems to love Trump one day and hate him the next. Maybe the question is better asked; is the so-called liberal media in the same tank as FOX. The logical answer is an obvious yes.

To be fair, one of Hannity’s Buffoon Squad, Tammy Bruce, qualified her statement that Hillary obviously won by saying that “she was in a room that was a bag of rocks, so you have to win”. Hannity immediately broke in saying “It’s true. It was awful”. Then Bruce, mustering all of her single syllable mind powers dubbed Hillary “the Queen of a bag of rocks”; much Beavis and Butthead laughing all around, including from the born smug former Nixon speech writer and Reagan administration player Hugh Hewitt, now best known for his incessant talk show whining about liberal bias being everywhere, in every pore of society. Bruce also stated that the Democrats are in a lot of trouble because, in her mind, all the Democrats have is Hillary and, in her words, “we’ve got a lot of talent,” one of whom will be facing her.

That segment of FOX’s post debate “analysis” wasn’t even the best (worst). Hannity’s second panel, a panel of old angry white man buffoons, included two fake Democrats, one of which, Doug Schoen, expressed frustration that the Clinton “email scandal” wasn’t discussed enough. Another guest, former Nixon dirty trickster and former Trump advisor and now insane, senile, raving madman, Roger Stone, thought that the Democratic debate could only help his former boss “pulverize” (his actual word) Clinton because of “her real record on women.” Trump over Clinton on women’s issues-- Riiiight. And I bet there was much backstage complaining that Democrats seem to be ignoring that wave of illegal immigrants from Saturn that Republicans will probably start seeing everywhere very soon.

Like the previous panel, after much declaring that Hillary Clinton was the winner, they all did a group whine that the so-called “liberal media”, by declaring that Hillary was the winner, just like they were, was proof that that dastardly “liberal media” is “in the tank” for Hillary. Their whining included CNN “gave her a pass.” That was their twisted rationale for how Clinton won. The righties always have such easy explanations for results they don’t like. Damn. Imagine how perplexed you would be if you had just come to America and had no idea about any of this. It gets worse.

Here, without subtitles or translation from the FOXese, is some must see TV. Hannity and his fellow asylum inmates are so sure Hillary won that they can barely even mention Sanders’ name. It apparently pains them. To Hannity, Sanders is a nameless “73 year old curmudgeon socialist.” The “in the tank” Greek chorus chanting at the end is hysterical, in every meaning of the word. After viewing it, you will probably come to the same conclusion as me: The sooner everyone at FOX gets a stringent treatment of electroshock therapy the better off the world will be. What debate they saw, I have no idea.

It was to be expected that CNN and FOX would be, respectively, their usual right and far right selves. Much of MSNBC followed suit, led by wingnut former Repug Florida Congressman Joe Scarborough and the station’s debate coverage anchor Chris Matthews. Matthews did a fine, sympathetic sit down with Sen. Sanders after the debate, even saying, at the beginning, that he thought Sanders won but later, when Sanders was gone, Matthews dove head first down to new lows in disgusting and insipid, cloying bias, constantly, like his FOX counterpart Hannity, dismissively referring to Senator Bernie Sanders as a socialist, as he often has, all the while fawning over every word that came from his many pro-Clinton guests; guests who just happened to be working for the Clinton campaign. Is Matthews in the tank for Hillary? Absolutely. He’s the kind of guy that will go where he think the power will be. It was the most two-faced performance from a pundit that I have ever seen. I had to turn off my TV. I felt like taking a shower. Like Hannity, Matthews insists on only referring to Sen. Sanders as a socialist, not a respected Senator who has a proven record of working with those across the aisle.

On MSNBC’s Thursday edition of The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell, O’Donnell himself, unlike many in his position, admitted that the focus groups and post debate polls disagreed with the various pundits. O’Donnell, like Scarborough and Matthews, is a creature of establishment Washington (although a significantly more palatable one) with a past in the Capitol Building. On his show on Thursday, Alex Wagner admitted “Bernie Sanders obviously has some appeal that we are not picking up on.” I like Alex Wagner but isn’t it her damn job to pick up on such appeal and report reality, or does she have some other job to do?

I can’t believe that Big Media, with all of its vast resources, is simply missing the story. It seems to me that being that out of touch can only be willful. In that, our media personalities are much like the politicians and other government officials they cover. That is not the kind of journalism that I learned at one of the top journalism schools in the country.

Earlier last Wednesday, in a post about the lack of media coverage on both the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and the Bernie Sanders campaign, I implied that I was surprised that CNN had not run car commercials while Sen. Sanders spoke, or, failing that, that his microphone didn’t mysteriously conk out. Turns out, I was on the right track when they ignored the results of their own poll. Orwellian? You bet.

None of this should come as a surprise, of course. I’ve stated many times that I haven’t watched CNN since 2004 because they were so pro-George W. Bush. It pained me to put on CNN to see any of their debate coverage but, I have to confess, I did. For now, at least, their candidate is Clinton, at least until the Republican field narrows down. Sen. Sanders is a bridge too far for the so-called mainstream media..

Whether or not Hillary ends up getting a bigger bounce in post debate polls is not the biggest issue here. At least one new poll has her regaining the lead in New Hampshire and other late week poll results say Clinton won. (And a more recent one shows Bernie back up with the same margin over her as he had before the debate.)

The number of Sanders supporters has also grown, with the senator pulling in over 3 million dollars in contributions in about 24 hours after the debate. When asked to describe Sen. Sanders in one word, the participants in Frank Luntz’s FOX focus group said “for the people,” “strong,” “straightforward,” “confident,” “direct,, “sincere,” “powerful,” “educator,” and “smart.” Both candidates improved their chances, simply because they were able to tell so many Americans something about who they are and what they stand for. Meanwhile, Big Media is deriding focus groups and various online reactions to the debate as “unscientific.” That’s the new Big Media buzzword of the week. It’s designed to discredit.

As I said, both Clinton and Sanders impressed. The real issue is not the bounces, it’s why is Big Media, with CNN in particular, engaging in media manipulation that Josef Goebbels or PRAVDA would be all smiles about? What is so scary about Senator Bernie Sanders that they are willing to push what remaining credibility chips they have to the middle of the table? Part of the answer is that they see Sanders as a threat to their nice, comfy status quo and that of their corporate masters and benefactors. The other part just may be all too well pointed out in Bill Maher’s great video at the top of this post.

Meanwhile... if Bernie wins, it will be because of people power, unencumbered by corporate media manipulation.

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At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love reading political commentary written by someone under no illusions whatsoever. Great piece.

At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Michael Simmons said...

Killer piece, Noah - as always. The corporate media first tried to ignore Bernie and now they’re just flat-out lying to diminish his popularity.

At 5:35 AM, Anonymous Steve Ahrens said...

Really liked this one. The media is, after all, another big corporate entity. What should we expect? I really like both Sanders and Clinton. And whether or not Sanders wins the nomination, he is establishing some baselines for policies the Democrats will stand on.

At 6:50 PM, Blogger Mary and Phil said...

Wonder what would happen if the people actually got to choose the candidates? Great article!

At 9:58 AM, Blogger Erik Lindgren said...

Once again, it's form (tradition/royalty) over content in the Hillary/Sanders match. I've always deplored how politics seems like another action-packed sporting event ... using words like "boxing," "pummeling,"etc in the video you posted. You are brave Noah to tune into CNN after a decade of not partaking. I hate going to the doctors since that network is always blaring in the background.


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