Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Left-Wing Press Only Treats Left-Wing Candidate As Radical, Doesn't So Label Him, Frets Williams

MRC Watch Dept. - Connor Williams is upset that "the extremist label has hardly been applied to self-avowed democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders," who held his first campaign event on Tuesday in Vermont. He contrasts this unfavorably with the press reaction to hard-right Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz.
"When the mainstream press frequently labeled Cruz radical, dangerous, and slimy, no such words were used to describe the Vermont Senator on the May 26 edition of The Rundown with Jose Diaz Balart."
If one follows Williams' link, the one supposed to show where the press "frequently" so labeled Cruz, you come across an edition of Newsbusters' "Notable Quotables" wherein all of one pundit -- that is, someone specifically present to offer opinion -- is quoted as having once called Cruz both "dangerous" and "slimy" while another is quoted as having once described Cruz as "radical." Others quotes refer to Cruz as a rigidly hardline conservative, characterizations Cruz himself would not only probably not contest but would see as free advertising for his campaign (and it's hardly surprising that the leftist Sanders wouldn't be called a rigidly hardline conservative).

Williams writes that the guests on the Rundown -- Mark Murray and Steve Kornacki -- "both gave rather glowing reviews of Sanders." Those "glowing reviews" include the assertion that Sanders wants to be a "happy warrior" for his issues and that "he’s sort of the antithesis of the packaged political candidate." Williams gives kudos to Balart, saying the host "did note, fairly, that Sanders' brand of politics is a 'non-starter in national elections'," but he complains that
"Other than Balart's brief mention of Sanders' politics being unpopular nationally, not one of the three analysts bothered to point out the Vermont senator's radicalism. For the left-wing media, extremism can only come from one side of the aisle."
So let's break that down, shall we?

No one would argue Sanders is anything other than a candidate of the left. The sort of candidate a "liberal media" would adore and promote to no end. But how does the corporate press actually treat Sanders? On Tuesday morning, long before Williams had written his article, this author had written a piece over at News Reviews that spent a great deal of time dealing with how Sanders is, in fact, ubiquitously dismissed by the corporate press as some sort of fringe crank who can't win. Author Steve Hendricks, writing for the Columbia Journalism Review, had just covered this as well (his article being one of the spurs for my own). Both articles offer copious examples of this press mistreatment of Sanders but, as it turns out, Williams' own offers up even more. While both Murray and Kornacki at least concede Sanders could give Hillary Clinton a good run for the money -- far more than most of the corporate press commentariat will allow -- both adopt the common theme of talking down Sanders' candidacy. Murray's ultimate conclusion, offered in a comment Williams even quotes:
"Bernie Sanders is probably going into this realizing that he won’t be sitting in the White House come 2017..."
Williams includes a full transcript of the exchange after his article and in it, Kornacki, likewise, says "the bottom line odds of Bernie Sanders becoming president in 2017 are not very good." And host Balart, in the part Williams particularly liked, said, "You look at Sanders’ brand of politics, it's essentially a non-starter in national elections."

Yeah, there's a real "liberal media" for you.

While Williams approved of Balart's sentiment, it is, in fact, entirely false. In that News Reviews article, I wrote about a piece Josh Harkinson had written for Mother Jones:
"Calling Sanders 'an extremely long shot,' Harkinson asks, 'Does that mean his views on key political issues are too radical for America's voters? Not necessarily.' And then presents a significant cross-section of polling data showing that Sanders' views on major issues are, for the most part, perfectly in line with the American mainstream. Harkinson doesn't offer any sort of detailed analysis, making his piece vulnerable to charges of superficiality but it does a fairly good job of making a general case, and it isn't a surprising one to those who pay attention. On most issues, Sanders is by no means distant from the American political center. His distance is merely from the 'center' as defined by the corporate press, which is way to the right of the actual center."
While one may feel some sympathy for Williams, born to a country that doesn't hold his own right-wing views, his complaint is essentially that these fellows on the Rundown merely treated mainstream views he dislikes as "radical" and "extremist" and disqualifying for a candidate rather than overtly labeling them as such. And from this, he extrapolates a general assertion about "the left-wing media." The "left-wing media," in this case, that dismisses the left-wing pol as an unelectable candidate with unpopular views.


[This article was written for MRC Watch, a blog that disapproves of the Ministry of Truth operation that is the Media Research Center.]

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