“Don’t hate the media, become the media.”
— Jello Biafra
by Legendary Lew
On ABC’s This Week, Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation Magazine slammed the corporate media for its saturated coverage of Donald Trump, calling it “wall-to-wall”, while Bernie Sanders barely gets a mention. She’s right. There’s statistical proof that Donald Trump, as the front-runner of the GOP race, receives substantially greater press than Bernie Sanders, who has drawn the largest crowds of any candidate in this election season so far.
Interestingly, as some of the pundits on This Week admit that Sanders could be elected president, a remarkable development began taking off in the Vermont senator’s campaign.
John Ellis, founder of Bernie2016TV, the YouTube channel concentrating on broadcasting Bernie’s speeches, recently made a plea to gain 10,000 subscribers for leverage in using YouTube’s California studios for future broadcasts. He reached the total within days.
BerniePost, an aggregate site compiling all news reporting on the Senator, reached a goal of 2000 likes on Facebook only hours after a plea to increase their numbers. The site recently published posts on the negligence of The New York Times and NPR in covering Sanders’ campaign accurately, if at all.
What’s fascinating about the efforts of Bernie2016TV and BerniePost is that these sites and others are springing up without financing from the official Sanders’ campaign. Coders, bloggers, graphic designers, podcasters and others are giving their time and energy towards spreading Bernie’s message out of passion for his policies and beliefs.
Currently, no other candidate boasts this type of commitment from supporters, although all of them have functioning websites. Fans of other candidates have contributed comments and Facebook posts, but Bernie’s army of supporters have done much more.
With the understandable frustration that corporate media is disinterested in covering a presidential candidate that attacks their power, volunteers have countered with BerniePost, the aforementioned site dedicated to capturing all news Bernie. Daniela Perdomo’s FeelTheBern.org compiles all the policy positions Bernie Sanders has taken stands on and supplies exhaustive hyperlinks to original sources for easy research. There are, of course, the multitude of Facebook pages dedicated to endorsing Bernie. Many different states, counties and towns for Bernie are represented, as well as the unusual entries such as Republicans for Bernie Sanders and even Cats for Bernie Sanders (no word yet on where dogs stand).
What truly launches the Bernie Sanders collective of alternative print and visual media into a full-fledged network, however, is Bernie2016TV. Ellis’ channel plays like an upstart version of Fox News or MSNBC. It provides live streaming coverage of Bernie’s speeches (via Shift from MSNBC and other feeds), regardless of crowd size, and just like the cable networks, Bernie2016TV has its cadre of interview hosts, pundits, guests and viewers weighing in with commentary. The live stream even provides chyrons with viewer tweets and salient quotes from the speeches.
As with any network startup, glitches occur as technical blips, inaudible sound and disconnection buffering sometimes hits the channel. However, what it lacks in million dollar polish, it makes up with priceless passion for the candidate.
What might be easily overlooked with this channel of C-SPAN level broadcasting is that an entire network devoted to a presidential candidate sprung up from volunteers alone in a span of four months. That’s quite astonishing and with consumer-level communication technology getting better by the day, Bernie Sanders’ followers are proving that home-grown media with smart dedicated people broadcasting alternative music, TV, movies and public affairs programming can reach larger audiences and influence millions. You just need the passion.
Disclosure Note: If you’ve not been able to tell already, I’m a major fan of Bernie Sanders and my opinions on him or any other candidate/issue are my own.