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Can Social Media Seize Control of Our Elections?

By       Message Thom Hartmann     Permalink
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Reprinted from Smirking Chimp

Media Attempts To Bury Bernie Sanders After Super Tuesday. Article after article says that Bernie Sanders has to drop out and support Hillary Clinton.
Media Attempts To Bury Bernie Sanders After Super Tuesday. Article after article says that Bernie Sanders has to drop out and support Hillary Clinton.
(Image by The Young Turks, Channel: The Young Turks)
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Americans don't trust the media. In fact, studies show that we, like, really, really, really don't trust the media.

A new survey from the Media Insight Project, for example, shows that just 6 percent of Americans "say they have great confidence in the press."

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Six percent! Just for some perspective, that's about the same number of Americans who say they have trust in Congress, which is about 4 percent.

It's up for debate whether that reflects worse on Congress or the media, but one thing is clear: The US public's almost total distrust of the press isn't going away anytime soon.

Public approval of the media has been declining for decades, and, according to some polls, has now reached record lows.

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This shouldn't be that surprising to anyone who's been paying attention.

Thanks to the death of the Fairness Doctrine, the people who are supposed to report the news no longer have any obligation whatsoever to, you know, report the news. As a result, corporate media, especially corporate television media, has become almost completely indistinguishable from "infotainment."

In many cases, it actually is infotainment.

Combine that with the fact that the press has gotten it very, very wrong on the biggest issues of our time -- the Iraq War, for example -- and it's amazing that anyone trusts them to get any story straight.

So, if Americans don't trust the traditional media, where are they getting their news?

Well, many of them, especially younger Americans, are getting it from the internet and social media.

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This is having a big, game-changing effect on our democracy.

Because of social media, politicians and activists now don't have to worry as much about getting their message across through corporate-controlled media.

They can now actually work around traditional corporate media altogether by using sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to reach out to supporters and rally the public to their cause.

This dynamic has played a huge role in the rise of Bernie Sanders. There was a "Bernie blackout" in traditional corporate media for the first six months of Bernie's campaign, and, at least initially, Sanders supporters could only find news about their candidate on Facebook and Twitter.

This has changed recently, but there is still an obvious anti-Bernie bias out there in the corporate press, even at supposedly "liberal" networks like MSNBC. As a result, social media has continued to play a big role in the campaign, acting as a corrective of sorts to mainstream media.

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http://www.thomhartmann.com
Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. www.thomhartmann.com His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War (more...)
 

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