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bernie bashing

@sandersfangirl

On Saturday, April 3, Bill Clinton stumped for his wife at the Los Angeles Trade Technical College in downtown LA. The event description said he planned to talk about why his wife was "the best candidate to raise wages and incomes." Knowing that that is not the case, Los Angeles for Bernie, Bernie's volunteer group in LA, organized a Fight for 15 Bernie rally outside the event.

We issued a press release to the major media outlets in advance stating that Bernie was actually the best candidate for workers. We detailed how Bernie introduced legislation for a $15 federal minimum wage, which Hillary doesn't support; how he wants public colleges and universities to be free, so people can get better paying jobs than minimum wage ones, and she only supports $12 except in some cities; how he proposed the Rebuild America Act, a $1 trillion infrastructure rebuilding program that would create 13 million high paying jobs; while she just released an insufficient $10 billion program; and how he recently introduced the Workplace Democracy Act that makes it easier for workers to join a union. In contrast, Clinton sat silent between 1986-1992 when she was on the board of Walmart, while the company squashed efforts by the employees to unionize.

Finally, we said how Bernie has fought so-called "free trade" agreements from NAFTA to the TPP that have shipped millions of high paying jobs out of the country, and she signed every one but CAFTA as Senator. She even touted the Panama Trade Agreement which Bernie warned Congress about. She now says she opposes the TPP which she touted 45 times as Secretary of State. However, the President of the US Chamber of Commerce stated that she is only saying that to win the nomination. He is convinced she will sign it if elected.

Because it is not Bernie's style to protest his opponents events, we did not protest the event. We did not chant or even use a megaphone for our press conference, which only Univision covered. As people entered and left the event, we politely handed out flyers with Bernie's 13-point platform to attendees asking them to please consider him. I made a short speech detailing the above facts; and a Fight for 15 organizer who supports Bernie spoke about her efforts to organize fast food workers who have to work two or three jobs in order to make ends meet.

Interestingly, a good number of people—including most of the people wearing union shirts—gave us the thumbs up and indicated they were supporting Bernie.

The LA Times received the release, and the reporter called from inside the event to say she would cover it, call me for a quote or at least use something from our release. However, we were not included in the article about the Clinton visit the next day. Ironically, while they failed to cover the 40 people we had outside the event, the Times also failed to cover the peaceful sit-in in front of CNN, which occurred at the same time. There 1000 Sanders supporters were protesting the excess coverage of Trump and Hillary and the lack of coverage of Bernie by CNN and the rest of the mainstream media. In contrast, in their coverage of the Clinton event, the Times inflated the number of attendees from a few hundred to 1000. We watched the people go in and come out, and there were a few hundred there at best.

Interestingly, a good number of people—including most of the people wearing union shirts—gave us the thumbs up and indicated they were supporting Bernie. One woman even rolled down her car window to tell us that she was only there because her union, the SEIU, assigned her to go. Like many rank and file union members, these workers are annoyed that their union leaders endorsed Clinton. The betrayal by the SEIU leadership was especially galling, seeing as that union created the #Fightfor15 campaign, and Hillary does not even support their call for a nationwide minimum wage of $15 an hour. Real journalists would have covered that angle instead of serving as a public relations agent for the Clinton campaign.

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In addition to failing to cover our rally, the Times made a point of highlighting in their Essential Politics e-newsletter a negative quote from their article on Dianne Feinstein about Bernie, which implied that Bernie does not play nice with others in Congress. This belies the experience of many colleagues, including Republicans like John McCain, and ignores Bernie's record of being the Congress member who was most able to work across the aisle to get passed the most amendments to bills earning him the title of Amendment King.

I wrote an Op Ed to the paper about this, and the next day found that it was rejected. However, the paper did feature another article entitled "On a big day for minimum-wage laws, Hillary Clinton, not Bernie Sanders, grabs the spotlight." In this article, they showed how Hillary sat on the stage with Cuomo while he signed the New York $15 an hour minimum wage law while Bernie "could only issue a statement from afar." The rest of the article was a justification of why she only supports $12 an hour, including a quote from the head of the SEIU. The entire article read like a list of talking points from the Clinton campaign. This would have been the perfect time to mention our rally yesterday. But no!

bernie bashing

The Times' bias against Bernie has been pretty blatant. The weekend he won three contests by YOOGE margins, the paper failed to write a story about it the next day. Instead, a day later, they posted an article about their poll with USC Dornslife, which was headlined, "Even Sanders supporters unite behind Clinton" and stated that "most" Sanders supporters think she will win. However, the poll itself shows that only 51% think she will win—hardly most. Their headline does not describe any Sanders supporter I know, and I have been leading LA for Bernie for ten months now. One has to wonder if the Times is trying to create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

While the Times rejected my Op Ed, they did address it in the Essential Politics e-newsltter on April 6. In a section headlined, "Some Context for 'The Bernie Blackout' Protest," (a protest they still hadn't covered, by the way), they referenced an article saying that the Bernie blackout "wasn't really a thing." But when you read the article, it only referred to 2016, and it did not address the negative or biased coverage that Bernie received from the press.

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Bernie Sanders is exciting the Democratic base, a large percentage of Independents, and even many Republicans as well as bringing new voters into the political process, especially young people and the working poor. The LA Times is missing this important story in their rush to join their colleagues in the establishment—the Democratic Party, the mainstream media, and the non-profit industrial complex—by pushing the narrative of Hillary's inevitable coronation.

Despite all of this, the people will prevail, and Bernie will win the California primary and the Democratic nomination. And when this happens, he will become the next President of the United States, and the 99% will finally have a champion in the White House.

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Lauren Steiner
Los Angeles for Bernie