Mass Distraction Will Be Amplified
Bernie Sanders. Photo courtesy of Benjamin Garcia
Many who identify as progressive in California are still ticked off that centrist Democrats and mainstream media have sought to make Sen. Bernie Sanders appear like an improbable candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden as the inevitable Democratic nominee.
Thousands flocked to Venice Beach this past month to see Sanders but you wouldn’t have known it if you were only paying attention to the Los Angeles Times. A couple of the local news channels took notice and at least one live streamed the event.
City Councilman Mike Bonin opened the rally by recalling the crisis in homelessness, unaffordable housing and gentrification, racism, refugees of a rigged economy and a broken justice system and a corrupt political system. Many that followed sounded similar themes highlighting the solutions Sanders has been advocating over the past several years from Medicare for all to the Green New Deal.
Los Angeles Councilman Gil Cedillo recounted the lies Donald Trump has told in regards to immigrants from Mexico and elsewhere and lead the crowd in a chant, “if we fight we win.”
Representatives of the Center for Popular Democracy Action, 59th Assembly District Rep. Reggie Byron Jones Sawyer, Sr., actor Tim Robbins, public intellectual Cornel West and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the speaker who opened the rally for Sanders, all framed the 2020 election as a revolution, an opportunity to turn upside down the current order of things under Trump.
Who would have thought President Donald Trump could upstage the Democratic presidential primaries and his own impeachment. He did it by ordering the assassination of Iran’s top General Qasem Soleimani.
The Random Lengths News editorial staff elected to reprint a column by Norman Solomon who writes about the extent mainstream media will go to prevent Sanders’ rise and perhaps even breathe a sigh of relief as the Tweet-monster in the oval office pushes this country to war in 280 characters or less.
—Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor
Get Ready for a Stop-Bernie Onslaught
By Norman Solomon
A central premise of conventional media wisdom has collapsed. On Dec. 26, both the New York Times and Politico published major articles reporting that Bernie Sanders really could win the Democratic presidential nomination. Such acknowledgments will add to the momentum of the Bernie 2020 campaign as the new year begins — but they foreshadow a massive escalation of anti-Sanders misinformation and invective.
Throughout 2019, corporate media routinely asserted that the Sanders campaign had little chance of winning the nomination. As is so often the case, journalists were echoing each other more than paying attention to grassroots realities. But now, polling numbers and other indicators on the ground are finally sparking very different headlines from the media establishment.
From the Times: “Why Bernie Sanders Is Tough to Beat.” From Politico: “Democratic Insiders: Bernie Could Win the Nomination.”
Those stories and others likely to follow in copycat news outlets will heighten the energies of Sanders supporters and draw in many wavering voters. But the shift in media narratives about the Bernie campaign’s chances will surely boost the decibels of alarm bells in elite circles where dousing the fires of progressive populism is a top priority.
For corporate Democrats and their profuse media allies, the approach of disparaging and minimizing Bernie Sanders in 2019 didn’t work. In 2020, the next step will be to trash him with a vast array of full-bore attacks.
Along the way, the corporate media will occasionally give voice to some Sanders defenders and supporters. A few establishment Democrats will decide to make nice with him early in the year. But the overwhelming bulk of Sanders’ media coverage —synced up with the likes of such prominent corporate flunkies as Rahm Emanuel and Neera Tanden as well as Wall Street Democrats accustomed to ruling the roost in the party—will range from condescending to savage.
When the Bernie campaign wasn’t being ignored by corporate media during 2019, innuendos and mud often flew in his direction. But we ain’t seen nothing yet.
With so much at stake—including the presidency and the top leadership of the Democratic Party—no holds will be barred. For the forces of corporate greed and the military-industrial complex, it’ll be an all-out propaganda war on the Bernie campaign.
While reasons for pessimism are abundant, so are ample reasons to understand that a Sanders presidency is a real possibility. The last places we should look for political realism are corporate media outlets that distort options and encourage passivity.
Bernie is fond of quoting Nelson Mandela: “It always seems impossible until it is done.”
Norman Solomon is cofounder and national coordinator of RootsAction.org. He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California and is currently a coordinator of the relaunched independent Bernie Delegates Network. Solomon is the author of a dozen books including War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.