For those of us who have been following the Bernie Sanders campaign it is no secret that the media coverage he has received is woefully lacking when viewed in the context of his ever-rising poll numbers alongside a steady decline in those of Hillary Clinton, as well as the unprecedented attendance at his rallies. Coverage of the Sanders campaign is also dwarfed by media coverage of Joe Biden, who has not even decided whether he will run or not, and who trails Sanders by a considerable margin in most polls that include him.
I will be addressing all of this in considerably more detail backed up by solid evidence in a series I am putting together, but I was struck by a piece in The Washington Post yesterday by Tom Toles, their editorial cartoonist, that suggested that the coverage was about to change for the better. The basis for his speculation was the news this week that Bernie Sanders had amassed $26 million in campaign contributions in the third quarter, falling only $2 million shy of what the Clinton campaign raised. Over one million contributions have poured into the Sanders campaign -- a milestone the Obama campaign did not achieve in 2007-2008 until five months later, after the primaries were already under way.
"What ever-growing crowds and poll numbers failed to deliver," Toles observed, "money has: coverage."
"What really buys you credibility in the world of coverage," he went on, "is the same thing that buys you groceries at the supermarket: money" And so now it's Heeeeere's Bernie!"
This morning the not particularly progressive "morning Joe [Scarborough]" program on MSNBC seemed to validate Toles observation in a big way.
Scarborough and his panel opened the program discussing, for 12 minutes, Bernie Sanders'fundraising success, and his crowd of 24,000 in Boston Saturday evening (20,000 people packed the convention center, and another 4,000 stood in the cold outside to watch him on a monitor set up for their benefit.) It was all positive commentary.
They talked about his consistency on issues going back to 1962, and how it resonates with and inspires the people who see him speak. They talked about what a loving grandfather he is and how he beams with delight when surrounded by his grand kids. They talked about how he is not the cranky individual some seem to think he is, but merely appears that way sometimes because he is so serious about the issues he passionately believes in. Most importantly, they said he could no longer be dismissed as someone who cannot win. "This is a wide open race" they proclaimed.
Is the media finally prepared to give Bernie Sanders and his supporters the respect he and we deserve? Let's hope so. This is a good start. A brief snippet of the segment is up at the "Morning Joe" web site. You can view it here.