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In a time of universal deceit -- telling the truth is a revolutionary act- George Orwell

Media Arm of Ruling Class

There are a multitude of reasons why every American should watch the March 23 Young Turks interview of Bernie Sanders. Perhaps the most important reason can be found in a media critique that would never be permitted by the corporate-owned, mainstream media—a discussion in which Sanders described the media, itself, as "an arm of the ruling class."

This partial transcript covers the issue of the media, itself.

Bernie Sanders: We need to break through the fog of the corporate media, which does everything that they can to keep us entertained without addressing the real issues. I’m on the corporate media every single day, and you don’t know how hard it is just to try to demand that we begin to talk about the real issues. They really do not want them. They’re talking about everything under the sun but not the real issues.

I think what you have is a corporate media, which by definition, has conflicts of interests. Comcast which owns NBC. It’s probably one of the most detested companies in the country. Disney is a co-owner. They’re paying their workers at Disneyworld eight or nine bucks an hour; uh, bringing in people from around the world to replace American workers. These are issues, important issues that they don’t want to discuss.

We need to break through the fog of the corporate media, which does everything that they can to keep us entertained without addressing the real issues.

Second of all, the model for media coverage right now is six second sound bites and an unwillingness to talk about real issues in a serious way. For example, climate change. I have to write a letter to the presidents of all of the networks to tell them that on their Sunday shows they never talk about climate change; almost never talk about it. Why? Well, does it have to do with the fact that there are energy, coal company and oil company, advertising? I think it does. They don’t talk about it.

Um, income and wealth inequality: do you ever hear really serious discussions about why the middle class is disappearing; the people on top get almost all of it?

Healthcare. You know, you see Michael Moore’s movie called Sicko?

Cenk Uygur: Of course. Yeah.

Bernie Sanders: It was really a brilliant movie. But I talk to young people. They don’t even know that we are the only major country without healthcare for all. They don’t know that in Germany or Scandinavia college is free. Media is not telling them that.

So the media is an arm of the ruling class of this country, and they want to talk about everything in the world except the most important issues because if you talk about real issues and people get educated on the real issues, you know what happens next? They actually may want to bring about change.

And last issue on that. You think you see NBC talking about Citizens United? I don’t think so. Television stations make huge amounts. They love Citizens United. All the super PAC money going in.

Cenk Uygur: So, I was going to ask about that as well. But before we even get to that, um, do you think that Time Warner and Comcast should disclose that they are among the top ten donors to Hillary Clinton’s campaigns throughout her career?

Bernie Sanders: Yeah.

Cenk Uygur: Because they’re doing the debates, they’re doing the Election Night coverage and they never say, “Hey, we’re among Hillary Clinton’s top donors.”

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Bernie Sanders: Absolutely. Look, I think a focus on media itself – and I don’t do enough of it. I try to but it’s hard to talk to the media about the media. They’re not particularly interested on that issue. But, ah, you know, I think that point is right. But the demand has got to be for the media – and I don’t think it’s going to happen. That’s why what you guys are doing, Thom Hartmann and others are doing, kind of going around the system is extraordinarily important.

I was at Northern Arizona State University just the other day. Beautiful campus, beautiful kids. And I asked them, “Do you understand that there is only one country that doesn’t guarantee healthcare to all people?” They were not familiar with that at all. Concepts of income and wealth inequality, concepts of justice, learning what goes on around the rest of the world: very little knowledge. Never talked about in the corporate media.

Cenk Uygur: So, I want to give you some examples of what the media has done to you. I’ll show videos five and seven here. And I’ve given dozens of examples on this show. But I want to have your reaction.

Now there’s, for example, the sixteen headlines against you in the Washington Post in sixteen hours. It’s amazing. And then there’s – we had Chris Cuomo asking you these questions. I want you to pay attention to how may times he asked you how you’re punishing people in this question. Watch:

Cuomo: You’re paying for it is actually punitive. You’re going to punish people who make money. You’re going to punish the financial district. You’re going to punish and wind up changing the idea of an open and free economy because you’re going to punish them for speculating.

Cenk Uygur: Now, I believe that we counted four punishes in there.

Bernie Sanders: [Laughs]

Cenk Uygur: So, how come they never ask: “Hey, are you going to punish the kids in this country by spending a trillion dollars in Iraq? Etc.

Bernie Sanders: You asked exactly the right question. Here’s the story. I have been a mayor for eight years, a congressman for 16, a U.S. senator for nine years. You know how many times people in the media have said, “Bernie, what are you going to do about poverty in America? This is an outrage. We have 47 million people in poverty. What are you going to do about it Bernie?” The answer is zero. Not once.

Cenk Uygur: Isn’t that amazing?

Bernie Sanders: But that is – what is important is not that the media is left or right wing. It’s that they frame the discussion. And that is what we’ve got to break through.

And by the way, if you think Chris is the worst, he is not. There are a lot of other people who are a lot more conservative than Chris. Actually, he’s treated me fairly well. But on this issue what Chris could have said was, “Well, Bernie, in the last 30 years as you know, trillions of dollars – there’s been a massive redistribution of wealth. Trillions of dollars have gone from the hands of the middle class into the hands of the top one-tenth of one percent. Bernie, this is an outrage. What are you going to do about that?”

Well, that wasn’t quite the question I was asked. And you know how often I’m asked that question? Zero.
My ideas are radical and unrealistic, but it is not radical when Wall Street, whose illegal behavior nearly destroyed this economy, gets bailed out. Oh, that’s the way we do things. But to try to help the children or young people to afford to go to college, that is unrealistic.

Here's the video of the full 33-minute interview...


Ernest A. Canning
Veterans for Peace