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Why is there no pro-Bernie voice in mainstream media?

It has been kind of incredible that there's been no effort by media outlets to reflect the popularity of Bernie. The New York Times only goes as far left as Paul Krugman, who was rabidly anti-Bernie during the primary. Instead, the Times added rightwinger Bret Stephens (and he doesn't reflect the realignment on the right either; he's not a Trump supporter).

We've seen the same elsewhere (e.g. MSNBC hiring Greta Van Susteren and George Will). Meanwhile, some 13 million people voted for Bernie, which seems like a sizeable audience that someone might consider targeting.

Min had been a regular reader of the Guardian but she noticed that things seems off - very anti-Bernie - during the primary. It didn't really surprise us - it wasn't different than any other mainstream news outlet - but the constant Bernie bashing was offputting. And beyond Bernie, it focused so much on Trump's scandal of the day (i.e. it repeatedly fell for all his trolling for free coverage).

I didn't really think much of it in a long term sense since it wasn't any different than anywhere else. But Buzzfeed (as part of a larger retrospective) makes the case that the Guardian made a huge miscalculation from a business perspective.

The New York Times and the Washington Post, with which the Guardian has hoped to compete, have thrived recently, racking up huge national security scoops, new paying subscribers, and a firm sense of place in a chaotic media environment. But Guardian US, many insiders believe, missed its core political opportunity in 2016 to align itself with the Bernie Sanders insurgency in the way its British parent paper has long been linked with the UK Labour left.


The US operation is now struggling to find its identity beyond filling the Trump-sized hole in the Guardian's UK print edition every day.


In the past, news organizations have used US election cycles to establish the brand and voice -- breaking through with news and analysis to a core audience that expands as political interest spikes. Some outlets do this with straight reporting, like Politico in 2008. Others do it with a stated bent (ranging from pro-Obama slant of Huffington Post to the ardently pro-Trump boosterism of Breitbart in 2016). There was an opportunity for the Guardian, which has its roots in economic leftism, to play to a pro-Sanders audience already interested in the work they'd done on, for instance, Snowden and Occupy. But Guardian US, like others, was focused on the reality that Hillary Clinton would win the primary -- even if her campaign wouldn't grant an interview with her.

"When Bernie announced, we did cover it well," said a former staffer. "It just seemed so obvious that that's what we should do. But there was a breathless obsession with the horserace and just doing what everyone else was doing."

"You'd do a Bernie story and it would go crazy, and they didn't seem to extrapolate a trend from that," said another former reporter. (The anger from some over Bernie is reminiscent of the deep dissent within the UK newsroom over the paper's relationship and treatment of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.)

The Guardian's treatment of Corbyn, initially extremely negative, suddenly changed in the last few days prior to the election when Corbyn started surging in the polls. Maybe that's a sign that they are learning from their mistakes (although i am probably conflating Guardian US and Guardian UK too much). Meanwhile new media outlets like the Young Turks have capitalized on Bernie's popularity. But that doesn't get to the question of why mainstream media hasn't added a Bernie voice to their editorial range. The answer is shown elsewhere in Buzzfeed's article when they talk about the Pulitizer Prize they won for the Snowden documents:

"While Snowden put us on the map, it makes corporate clients very nervous about wanting to get big into the Guardian," according to a former executive.

I assume Bernie's policies make corporate clients "very nervous" too, and that probably answers our question.

By fnord12 | June 21, 2017, 10:05 AM | Liberal Outrage