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The Big Obstacle for Bernie Isn’t DNC "Rigging"—It’s Media Trashing

The Big Obstacle for Bernie Isn’t DNC "Rigging"—It’s Media Trashing

Norman Solomon

Some people are attached to the idea that the Democratic National Committee will “rig” the presidential nomination against Bernie Sanders. The meme encourages the belief that the Bernie 2020 campaign is futile because of powerful corporate Democrats. But such fatalism should be discarded.

As Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” Of course top Democratic Party officials don’t intend to give up control. It has to be taken from them. And the conditions for doing that are now more favorable than ever.

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The media would respond to an effective withdrawal of advertising dollars should such be effectively coordinated by boycotting key commercial concerns. Tarnishing the advertisers for the sins of the messengers has been demonstrated to work. This effort should begin ASAP to send a strong message to (what should still be) the fourth estate that the People want and deserve the unvarnished truth. Mr. Solomon is right, power must be taken by force. It need not be violent, however–only well conceived and coordinated.


Are not the major news media, which indeed serve as propaganda outlets for corporate power, aligned with establishment dems, all part of the club that most of us, as the late George Carlin would say, we ain’t in?

The media is a very substantial means for rigging the system, as we’re all too well aware. And as to the profits of said rigging, I refer to the elitist club once more.


Last August, under grassroots pressure, the DNC voted to abolish superdelegates’ votes at the Democratic National Convention for the first ballot of the nominating process.

In 2016, before the first primary and caucus vote was cast, the media reported that Clinton was hundreds of votes ahead of Sanders (I think Sanders had about 10), making Sanders look like the impossible dream candidate. Those were superdelegate pledges, but I think those reports had an effect on the actual primary votes – especially the early ones.

If the media reports those superdelegate pledges the same way in 2020, the effect on the perception of Sanders’ candidacy will be the same, regardless whether superdelegate votes apply to the first ballot or the 10th.

If the DNC was serious about a truly democratic nominating process, they’d abolish superdelegates entirely.


The younger voters Bernie needs do not watch cable TV news.
His live events amplified by his social media presence reach millions.
He has expressed a belief in using TV less and online broadcasting more.
His proven prowess in grassroots fundraising is the new standard.
I’d expect his performance among voters of color to significantly improve.
I don’t think the zeitgeist has changed: Voters still want an outsider.
His head start in name recognition compared to 2016 is yuge.

The big obstacle to Bernie – and all of us liberals – is a calcified 2-party farce built atop corporate $$$.


I’ve noticed it already. He gets very little mention much less on camera interviews on such outlets as MSNBC and CNN. You know he gets more mentions of his name on FOX, albeit it being negative and implied “socialist”. Even Cspan (which is NOT unbiased) gives him few mentions.


I agree 110% (and we should do it with RCV doing the deciding on second ballots). I do think though if the media attempts to tabulate pledged support by superdelegates before the last primary is over, they are in for some wider criticism than before - maybe they’ll still do it, I hope not.

I don’t see anything wrong with tracking endorsements of candidates by public figures. By showing who is endorsing who I can get a better picture of the candidate themselves and how well they align with establishment versus progressive interests. The one I keep an eye on for this purpose is at fivethirtyeight;


I suggest that the DNC colludes with the MSM to try and trash Mr Sanders. If they were not doing so it would not be so easy for the MSM to find these Democratc voices to interview on CNN.

I would also point out that CNN admitted that in the recent Town hall a number of Democratic Party operatives were among those selected to ask questions. They try and pretend they were not aware those persons worked for the Democratic party.


Media trashing is part of the rigging process, the two are not separate.
The media’s role is to disseminate propaganda in order to shape public opinion, manufacture consent and otherwise lend legitimacy to an utterly rogue government, including their sham of an election process.
The DNC is part of that same system and as a corporate owned party colludes directly with the corporate owned media.


Norman … DNC “Rigging” and Media Trashing is controlled by the same people. There is no ‘fatalism’ just reality.

If you want to be helpful, publish a list of 2016 Super Delegates, put an asterisk by Corporate Democrats.
Other than a few state party flunkies and congress critters showing up on the list … good luck. Funny how the numbers get great media attention but finding the Corporate Democrat Super Delegates, that control the DNC, is like finding Unicorns.


Are you saying you want to track this so you know who not to vote for? I’m sure you have plenty of information on who to vote for, so I don’t see this being useful in your case.

It’s rare, but I’m 100% opposed to your point of view here. I don’t care if the public figures are not superdelegates - they can go on TV and endorse whoever they want, but if they are superdelegates, they should keep their damn mouths shut until everybody has voted and the press should keep their damn mouths shut too (obviously 538 disagrees with me too - I won’t be following them any longer). AOC (I guess she is a superdelegate now?) was smart enough to not endorse - that is the ethical behavior in our nutty system with superdelegates.

My email to: contact@fivethirtyeight.com

Dear fivethirtyeight,

I’ve found your coverage interesting in the past, but I will be boycotting you this election based on your decision to track endorsements which is too close to tracking superdelegate vote count which was such a huge problem in 2016.

Thanks for nothing in terms of trying to make 2020 a better election cycle.

Dara Parsavand


I guess I consider knowing who is endorsing who is part of being informed. Sure - I don’t need that info to decide who I will vote for personally - but I do want to know it so I can offer more informed opinions when I discuss candidates with others. Just look at how much emphasis people here on CD put into the fact that Elizabeth Warren decided to stay neutral between Sanders and Clinton in the 20016 primaries.

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This was because of the whole superdelegate problem in the first place. If there were no superdelegates, very few would be complaining I believe. Given she was a superdelegate, if she had said (I don’t know what she said, I wasn’t following her very closely in 2016), “Look, I like a lot of Bernie’s ideas - we share a similar vision for the country. I also like a lot of Hillary Clinton’s ideas and think they would both make great presidents and be miles better than whoever the Republican’s select. But I don’t want to get in the way of the American people deciding on who they want for president given the sway that superdelegates have on this election which I don’t believe we should be doing. I will announce my intention of who I will be voting for as a superdelegate after the last primary”. If she had said something like that, I’m pretty sure she’d be getting a lot less complaining here.

Maybe you’ve seen the interview with former MSNBC pundit Ed Schultz. He was basically let go because he wanted to cover Bernie Sanders.

Ed went to RT, where he says he experiences way less censorship than he ever did at MSNBC.


Ed is dead. RIP


Undoubtedly, Warren based her non-endorsement on the same political calculations I see you making in your comments here, which is perfectly fine. But isn’t the data supplied by 538 just more fodder for the political calculus you apply?

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I’m not sure I follow what you are asking (maybe the ‘but’ is throwing me off). Are you saying I shouldn’t be annoyed and should want 538 to track these votes and prominently display them at their site? So I have data to make my arguments?

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My observation of the comments on CD indicated that people here were mainly interested in her endorsement because they felt she might have swayed voters - especially in Massachusetts - to vote for Bernie and win him more delegates that way.

But regardless, I agree that the reporting of super delegate counts by the media in 2016 was harmful because that made the idea that Clinton was “inevitable” more convincing in the public eye and was actually hurting Bernie’s campaign. But that won’t be the case in 2020 because very few people beyond political wonks like us will care about the advantage for a candidate in the off chance there is a second round of voting at the convention. I would never get made at a site like five thirty eight for providing accurate information to the public - we need more accurate information in our lives - not less.


Norman makes excellent points.

Bernie held an historic rally launching his campaign Saturday with a truly electrifying speech. Being in Brooklyn, for God’s sake, you think the NY Times might have noticed. But they, the Washington Post, and The Hill ignored the event. (The next day, Sunday, the NY Times had a tiny article near the bottom of their digital page, ranking equal with a story about a crocodile eating people in the Philippines.) The other two continued ignoring, and will continue to ignore Bernie. The Post did have two articles Saturday extolling the virtues of Joe Biden, whom the DNC no doubt plan to attempt to stuff down our throats.

Mainstream corporate media are the ones who lavished billions of free publicity all over the walking disaster now pretending to preside over the country. Good for ratings,they said, while admitting, not so good for democracy.