If you listen to the mainstream media, Donald Trump’s presidency might as well be a given. By most other indicators, Trump shouldn’t have a chance – he is viewed unfavorably by more than half of poll respondents, with an average of 57% of voters unhappy with the abrasive rabble-rouser. It’s easy to see why – he has no policy proposals, plays lowbrow identity politics and blatant fear-mongering while only bothering to engage with white male voters. Yet last year, the mainstream media gave Trump 234 minutes of television coverage – more than the entire Democratic field.
The one candidate who is viewed universally favorably by the people of New Hampshire is Bernie Sanders – but he was only given ten minutes of airtime last year, according to the Washington Post. Sanders also has more supporters than Trump does; the populist champion is polling at 33% among Democrats, while Trump polled at 34% among Republicans – and according to the Pew Research Center, there are 9% more Democrats in America than there are Republicans in the first place.
The disconnect between the popularity of the candidates, the viability of their respective messages, and the amount of airtime they receive is very disturbing. It shows a concentrated effort by the mainstream media to continue dramatizing our election, turning it into a reality TV show and distracting voters from the real issues at stake in this election. It also reveals that the establishment has a deep fear of Bernie Sanders and the message of progressives, their mission to fundamentally change the status quo of our nation, restoring integrity to our democracy, and returning the wealth that has been systematically funneled to the top 1% of Americans to the middle class, where it belongs.
While Trump may dominate the airwaves with his increasingly offensive and abrasive statements, remember that what the perception of popularity that the mainstream media cultivates around him is nothing but smoke and mirrors.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.