Why are Bernie Sanders supporters so excited about the massive number of individuals watching the Joe Rogan interview? Why did we cheer on Bernie when he decided to enter hostile territory on the Fox News town hall?
Many of us lived through the corporate media horrors of 2015–16, when Bernie was mocked, dismissed or just plain ignored. We cried out as supposed “news” organizations gave Hillary Clinton massively unbalanced quantities of free air time. We watched endless journalistic malpractice as the mass media clipped, edited, twisted and manipulated his words. In shock, we observed as the corporate media helped elect Trump by giving him seemingly endless media exposure. It was so bad, we protested outside the doors of CNN in Los Angeles!
Fast forward to 2019 and we are dealing with the same shit. Yes, Bernie is getting marginally better coverage this cycle. But once again he is again being omitted, ignored, removed and silenced. His words are parsed, edited, spliced and rebuilt to make him seem a bitter, angry outsider. His campaign has been “doomed” and “failed” even as he leads in most fundraising, contributor and volunteer stats. Basic mathematics seem to fail as the media misreports poll numbers and other simple data.
Bernie Sanders is once again facing endless smear pieces and attacks from the mass media. The owners of the “left-center” corporate media hate Bernie, they are threatened by him, and they want him to lose. From the Washington Post to MSNBC, Sanders faces a constant onslaught of hostility. Mimi Rocah stating that Bernie “makes her skin crawl” as a “political analyst” perfectly encapsulates this pre-programmed hostility.
The owners of the “left-center” corporate media hate Bernie, they are threatened by him, and they want him to lose.
When Bernie steps outside of the mainstream media bubble into either hostile territory (Fox News) or alternative media (Joe Rogan Experience) he has an opportunity to speak to people who either never hear his message, or hear it through the dirty, stained filter of corporate media. He won over the crowd at the Fox News town hall with a bold, unapologetic message. And he won over many of the Rogan podcast listeners with that same unflinching progressive narrative. Over 6 million views on YouTube and over 120,000 comments (as of 8/9), with a shockingly positive ratio.
Sanders supporters try to fight the corporate media bias head-on. But let’s be honest. We will ultimately lose that war. Our best chance to reach people is to be the media and create our own content, use alternative media, and step outside of the traditionally accepted media channels to make our voices heard.
Look, I understand people who have concerns about some of Joe Rogan’s views, or some of his previous guests. I understand people who believe going on Fox News somehow validates it. But honestly, what are we supposed to do? Ignore half of America, including the independent majority? Hope that conservative America evolves on the issues from within their bubbles? Speak only through approved channels, through a biased media apparatus that fears us and wants us to lose? Reach only those voters the establishment doesn’t deem deplorable?
Bernie didn’t go on Joe Rogan to pander to Rogan’s audience. He showed up with the same messages he has been delivering consistently for decades, and stuck to his ideology and principles. The response from thousands of listeners was shocking. Don’t trust me? Go read the comments.
For the first time, millions of people heard the REAL Bernie Sanders, not the media-designed caricature of him. And the people loved him.
Ben Hauck is an organizer and activist focusing on environmental justice and progressive politics. Ben is a assembly district delegate with the California Democratic Party. He is also a lead organizer with Public Bank LA, Divest LA, California Public Banking Alliance and Revolution LA. Ben is member of Democratic Socialists of America and an unapologetic supporter of Bernie Sanders.