During the November 14 edition of PBS’ Tavis Smiley, Senator Bernie Sanders called out the corporate media for failing to cover several key election issues, including climate change.
TAVIS SMILEY (HOST): I know that on all the other shows you’ve appeared you’ve been asked repeatedly to offer your postmortem on the election. I’m going to spare you those questions tonight because you’ve been asked them everywhere else, and I want to talk about something different: What you actually have in the book [Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In] as a plan for the future. It is the case that every election is never about the past, always about the future. So let’s talk about how we navigate our way forward in the future and not do any more postmortem questions on what happened last week, as legitimate as those questions may be. I want to take your list of ten things to fix America in reverse order. Number ten on your list is corporate media and the threat to our democracy. That’s a bold statement, that corporate media is a threat to our democracy. Unpack it for me.
BERNIE SANDERS: Okay, here’s where we are with that. And this is an issue that is never discussed, certainly not on corporate media. What you’ve got today, Tavis, is about a half a dozen major media conglomerates that own and control the distribution of the information that the American people receive. That is a massive concentration of control. And what is never discussed about is: What is the goal of these major media conglomerates? Is it to educate the American people? Is it to give the five sides of the issue? No. Their function as major media conglomerates, owned by very large financial interests, is to make as much money as they possibly can. That is their interest. Now what does that mean in the day-to-day life of the American people? It means that, number one, in a campaign the likes of which we have just had, over 90 percent of media, television, for example, did not discuss the important issues facing the American people. They were devoted, their coverage was devoted to political gossip, to polling, to money being raised, to stupid things the candidates said, to personalities, rather than saying, “Okay, here are the problems facing the American people. And this is how candidate Trump feels about it, candidate Clinton, or candidate Sanders feels about it. You decide which proposal makes more sense to you.” In other words, the campaign was not presented as an issue impacting the American people, but more of a personality contest between the different candidates. That is a disaster for democracy.
Second point: If anybody thinks that advertising on television does not play an important role in terms of what gets covered, you are sorely mistaken. Climate change, according to the scientific community, is the great global crisis that we face. Yet there is unbelievably little coverage of climate change, and I believe that has a lot to do with a lot of the fossil fuel advertising and the special interests that dominate television. So those are some of the issues that concern me about media.
Transcript via Media Matters.