Politics

Robert Reich's Viral Facebook Post About the Bernie Sanders Media Bias

“Bernie did well yesterday but he can’t possibly win the nomination."

That was a popular sentiment after presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' (D-Vermont) swept "Western Saturday," with wins in the Washington, Alaska and Hawaii. It was also the opening line of an email sent from a friend to former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, which inspired the popular political commentators' viral Facebook response.

Reich, who is known for his YouTube videos explaining complex political topics from a left-leaning perspective, said he and and other Sanders supporters were sick and tired of being told the candidate had no chance of beating front-runner, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic nomination.

He laid out five reasons why he thinks the Democratic Socialist from Vermont can earn a victory.

 

“Bernie did well yesterday but he can’t possibly win the nomination,” a friend just wrote, attaching an article from the...

Posted by Robert Reich on Sunday, 27 March 2016

Many of the points are clear; (5) Sanders has momentum, (4) he's raising a historic amount of money from small donors, and (2) there's still a long way yet to go in the primary race. However, points 1 and 3 may require some clarification, as they concern Superdelegates and the Democrats' complex nominating system.

Delegates Count

Reich, and those who support his point of view, are arguing tha Clinton is too often portrayed as leading Sanders' by more than 700 delegates, and on a cursory examination of the delegate count, this appears to be true.

However, what Reich is stressing is that Clinton's lead appears over-inflated because 469 of those delegates are unpledged "Superdelegates," a group which comprises Democratic Party officials who can change their vote at any time, up until the Democratic Nation Convention this summer. Reich is arguing that if Sanders overtakes Clinton in the pledged delegate count, which he believes could happen if Sanders' continues his recent momentum in state primaries and caucuses, then those delegates will switch over to Sanders and eliminate Clinton's lead.

Reich argues that this narrative is hidden from voters.

"Yet if you read the Washington Post or the New York Times, or watch CNN or even MSNBC, or listen to the major pollsters and pundits, you’d come to the same conclusion as my friend. Every success by Bernie is met with a story or column or talking head whose message is 'but he can’t possibly win.'" — Robert Reich

Reich's message seems to be resonating, with more than 39,000 likes and 13,000 shares on Facebook.

Is there really media bias against Bernie Sanders?

Joshua Holland of Rawstory argues that media outlets are simply being realistic about Sanders' chances, and that his supporters are seeing a conspiracy where none exists. On Thursday, March 24, Holland predicted that Sanders' strong Saturday showing would elicit charges of a media conspiracy against Sanders.

A lot of Sanders supporters will want [the media]to cover these victories in sweeping terms, and write that the momentum has shifted, but they won’t. They won’t report these things because they aren’t true, or at least because there will be no reason to expect them to prove true at the time (one never knows what might happen in the future). If Sanders had swept five early contests and gained a lead in the delegate count, it might have caused primary voters in later states who leaned toward Clinton to re-evaluate their choice. But we’re more than halfway through the campaign, opinions are becoming set and when the candidates get to New York, Clinton will still be up by at least a couple of hundred pledged delegates.

True or not, arguments about media bias against sanders are gaining steam.

On Sunday, the hashtag #BernieMadeMeWhite trended on Twitter, in response to arguments that Sanders could not win "diverse states," despite the fact that he just earned a strong victory in Hawai'i, a predominantly non-white state.

Misael Franco, one of the the first people to use the hashtag told ATTN:, "in my case I used the hashtag because all of the Latino voters for Bernie have been erased by the entire mainstream media. As a Mexican-American I find this offensive."

Sanders and Clinton will next square-off in primary contests in Wisconsin on April 5,  Wyoming on April 9, and New York on April 26, the latter of which will go a long way in determining who will earn the party's nomination.

Update: A previous version of this story left out the April 5 Democratic primary in Wisconsin. 

Featured Image:Flickr/ATIS547