The 2016 Presidential Election Campaign has etched itself in history as oddly entertaining and outlandish, from Donald Trump’s nasty Tweets and xenophobic rhetoric to Hillary Clinton’s 13-hour Benghazi Congressional Hearings and the endless email scandal. Through it all, It seems that Trump has created his own personal reality show promoted by the media circus.
Real Clear Politics reports that Sanders is favored by 33% of Democrats and that 32% of United States voters identify themselves as Democrats. Pew Research found that 23% of Americans are Republicans. In polls, Trump has won 34% of the Republican vote. So the math says Sanders has more supporters.
Despite drawing cumulative crowds of 100,000 at rallies in recent weeks, Bernie Sanders’ media coverage is 4% of the election. His team works fervently utilizing social media to draw people to his rallies and to recruit new supporters. The team’s strategy is to set up a web page before each rally and to repeatedly email supporters. His grassroots campaign continues to build momentum via social media and word-of-mouth. Sanders does not buy advertisements’ he relies on individual contributions. Sander’s website reports that his campaign has raised 2.5 million individual small-dollar contributions, with the largest volunteer operation in the race.
Why do we hear so little about Sanders in the news and rarely see him in the newspapers/online news? Some people attribute this to three letters (and a lower case “s”): PACs. These are independent Political Action Committees who can raise unlimited funds from corporations, unions, and individuals; but are not allowed to contribute directly to candidates or parties. Sanders will not seek or accept contributions from big companies who will expect favors in return.
According to Reverb Press Sanders was mentioned 6.4 minutes on CBS Evening News, 2.9 minutes on NBC Nightly News, and .3 minutes on ABC World in 2015. Conversely, Trump has received more network coverage than all the Democratic candidates combined. He’s had 27 percent of all campaign coverage his year. Republican Jeb Bush received 56 minutes of coverage, followed by Ben Carson’s 54 minutes, and Marco Rubio’s 22.
A man interviewed by the Huffington Post phrased the reality succinctly: “Three giant corporations own the majority of the mainstream and easily accessible media, and the candidate they aren’t covering is calling out that type of corporate corruption.”
Initially the media found Sanders’ campaign to be a humorous sidebar in the race. They largely ignored the Socialist who could never make it to the Oval Office and dismissed him as comic relief. Sanders’ lack of antics, prejudices, and personal scandals do not lend themselves to sensationalized headline news. He doesn’t send out controversial Tweets or insult people. Being vocal about his desire to dismantle and increase taxes of the corrupt financial system does not endear him to the major news stations.
However, we may hear more about Sanders in the media after his New Hampshire poll victory and favorable predictions for the Iowa Caucus.