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Mainstream Media Bias on 2020 Democratic Race Already in High Gear

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After having been a mainstream TV news pundit, I'm unfortunately addicted to cable news (mostly MSNBC and CNN) and all the blather and repetition laughably overhyped as "breaking news." Even when it's the same news that's been breaking . . . and breaking . . . for hours or days.

But I'm more bothered by the repetition of pundits and the narrowness of discussion, resulting in a number of unexamined cliche's. Although the Democratic race for president has barely launched, mainstream media bias is already in orbit.


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As everyone in politics knows and mainstream pundits acknowledge the Democratic Party is seriously divided in two. The conflict today may be as intense as during the 2016 primary battle:

** On one side is the party establishment, allied with corporate donors preaching pragmatism, caution and incrementalism.

** On the other side is much of the party's activist base, animated by issues and allied with elected officials like Bernie Sanders and a young crop of insurgent Congress members calling for transformative change to protect the planet and people from corporatism and greed.

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Strange thing: only the corporate Democratic side is regularly represented on MSNBC and CNN, and in mainstream media at large.

(Actually it's not so strange, given the powerful economic forces that own and sponsor mainstream news: Comcast, Time Warner, Jeff Bezos, etc.)

The now daily MSNBC and CNN discussions of the Democratic 2020 race which usually include mainstream print reporters and Democratic operatives singing the same tune feature a chorus of corporate Democratic talking points (standards like "go moderate"), while the progressive wing of the party is often alluded to but rarely heard from.

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Jeff Cohen was director of the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College, where he was an associate professor of journalism. He founded the progressive media watch group FAIR.org in 1986.

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