05:29 GMT +317 October 2019
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    Democratic Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., poses for a portrait before an interview, Wednesday May 20, 2015, in Washington.

    Bernie Sanders Continues to Soar in Polls Despite Mainstream Media Blackout

    © AP Photo / Jacquelyn Martin
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    Despite a clear reluctance of the mainstream media to give facetime to the Vermont senator, underdog Bernie Sanders continues to gain momentum in his push for the US Democratic presidential nomination. His polling trajectory even indicates that, sooner rather than later, he will be catching up - and surpassing - media darling Hillary Clinton.

    Sanders started out trailing Clinton in Iowa by more than 30 percent, but according to a new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll, he has closed that gap to seven percent, pulling 30 percent support to only 37 percent for Clinton.

    While it is to be expected that Clinton will receive more media attention than Sanders — what with her name recognition, and now being surrounded by scandal — the lack of coverage of Sanders’ campaign is glaring.

    As Rima Regas pointed out in a piece for Alternet, Sanders has received less coverage by the New York Times than Martin O’Malley, who is barely even making a splash. 

    Regas also noted that the fewer-than-a-dozen articles the Times has run about the senator have each been problematic — from incorrectly labeling him a socialist (which is different than a democratic socialist, as he styles himself,) to focusing on the unlikeliness of his success.

    Many mainstream media publications have also slyly commented on Sanders’ age, while ignoring the fact that he is only six years older than Clinton.

    The one time the media was quick to cover Sanders’ campaign stops was following Black Lives Matter protests, yet nearly all mainstream publications failed to mention his near-perfect rating by the NAACP and ACLU for his lifelong record of legislative votes that benefit the black community.

    “This is of particular import here because Sanders’ main opponent, Hillary Clinton, also has a very long record and it isn’t being scrutinized,” Regas noted. “When Clinton met with protesters in New Hampshire and she was confronted with policies of hers and Bill Clinton’s that have harmed the black community, little was made of it in the press. All chatter about Clinton’s behavior at that meeting has practically come to an end, and she has yet to publish her own policy proposals for racial justice.

    “Since when don’t records matter?”

    Had Sanders faced this deafening silence and lack of thoughtful discussion from mainstream media in the years before social media, would his popularity still be sky rocketing?

    As his name recognition goes up, so does his favorability in the polls, and thanks to social media, which Sanders commands like a pro, the public no longer needs to rely on newspapers and network news to decide who they should be talking about and why.


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