Bernie Sanders: Corporate Media is a Threat to Democracy | Democracy Now!
What media does and what media loves is conflict and political gossip and polls and fundraising and all that stuff. What media loves is to focus on the candidates. What the American people, I believe, want is for us to focus on them, not the candidates, not anymore. And what this book does is just do that. It deals with what I think—and some of you will agree, some of you may not agree—with what I think are the major issues facing our country: the decline and disappearance of the American middle class, poverty, income and wealth inequality. But it doesn’t only lay out the problems; it provides very specific solutions.
Question: Why are we the only major country on Earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people? Why are we the only major country not to have paid family and medical leave? Why do we have a higher rate of childhood poverty than almost any major country on Earth? Why are we not dealing more aggressively with climate change? Why do we have more people in jail, disproportionately African-American, Latino, Native American, than any other country on Earth? China, four times our size, we have far more people in jail than China does. We spend $80 billion a year locking people up. Does that make sense? Is there a way out of that? What do we do when we have 11 million people who are undocumented? What does it mean to move toward comprehensive immigration reform and a path toward citizenship? In a highly competitive global economy, we once used to have the best-educated workforce in the world, 30 years or so. Our people, in this country, graduated and went to college in a higher percentage than any other country on Earth. You know what? That’s not the case anymore. And the gap between those countries who are graduating more people from college than we are is getting wider and wider and wider. What does this portend in terms of the future of our country?
So, we lay the issues out on the table, discuss the problems and also provide some real concrete solutions. And that’s what I think we have to do as a nation. And in terms of media, there’s a chapter that says that maybe it’s time for media to start focusing on the real issues facing our country. It was embarrassing. I read this as I wrote the book. Turns out that if you looked at, I think it was, the Sunday morning shows, Bernie Sanders alone—and I say this not to boast, but to tell you how pathetic the situation is—two-thirds of the discussion or the mention of poverty took place when I was on those shows. So what does that say about a country when there’s almost no discussion of poverty, no discussion—almost no discussion of climate change, very little discussion of income and wealth inequality, no discussion of the role of the corporate media? And I’m glad that Amy is going to be up here in a minute, because what she has done is shown that it is possible, although very difficult, to go outside of the corporate media and develop your own network. But what does corporate media talk about, what do they not talk about, where do we go forward in media is a very, very important issue.