Listen to The Best Democracy Money Can Buy podcast (Episode 4, also check out Episodes 1, 2 and 3) with Greg Palast and Flashpoints’ Dennis Bernstein. This week Greg Palast takes on The New York Times, NPR, and big media in general for their biased reporting in favor of Hillary Clinton.
Dennis Bernstein: Dissect for us the story in the electronic version of The New York Times, “From Bernie Sanders Supporters, Death Threats Over Delegates.” It’s the same establishment deciding, essentially, who is going to win or lose, who the candidates will be, who is acceptable and who isn’t. The corporate news cycle determines that.
Greg Palast: In Nevada, 64 Bernie Sanders delegates – some committee chairmen and lifelong county Democratic Party members – were disqualified on the grounds that they were Republicans. They are lifelong Democrats, and that’s why they were at the convention, as chosen delegates. Bernie Sanders had more delegates than Hillary Clinton. It was a very close race in Nevada. When they knocked out the 64 Bernie delegates as Republicans, suddenly Hillary won the caucus by 35 delegate votes. Some of the Sanders people didn’t like that. So what was the report? Not how Sanders delegates were somehow excluded from exercising their rightful vote for the party’s nominee. Instead, The New York Times headline was: “From Bernie Sanders Supporters, Death Threats Over Delegates. ”
DB: The Bernie bird threatening delegates!
Palast: The story was that the Sanders people were leveling death threats at the chairwoman of the Democratic Party, who overruled all the voice votes, all the Bernie delegates’ credentials, and ramrodded Hillary Clinton through as the winner of these extra Nevada delegates.
The Party chairwoman claimed that they were grandchildren kidnappers and leveled death threats.
But the Times reported nothing about stealing the delegates’ votes, the cause of the rebellion, the “riot.”
The problem here is that although it’s funny to accuse Bernie of being a grandkidnapper, the sad part is that this is how the so-called liberal press and supposedly good journalists are operating. If I wrote a story like this for The Guardian, I would be fired by my editors. This is what stands for news coverage in the USA – not the issues, but some fool’s threats.
DB: In the same spirit of demonization of Sanders, NPR’s Tamara Keith characterized his aggressive, effective campaign with the highly charged term of “battering” Hillary Clinton. As if Sanders were a batterer of women just like Donald Trump.
Palast: NPR. What do you expect from National Petroleum Radio? I’ve been taken off NPR. I was supposed to be on Media Matters, their media program. They wanted me to complain about right wing newspapers like The New York Post. As I was about to go on the air, they asked what I was going to talk about. I said, “Biased coverage by NPR.” Literally, just 40 seconds before airtime they said, “We can’t have you on.”
This is the problem. We’re not getting the news we ought to get. I’m not a Sanders person, I’m a journalist. No sides here. A New York Times headline was, “Liberal Economists Say Sanders Numbers Don’t Add Up.” They cited a guy, Austan Goolsbee, from the University of Chicago, which is where I went and is a rightwing cesspool. Liberal economist? He did not do a study – rather, he’s a Hillary Clinton supporter who was just mouthing off.
There was a detailed study of Sanders’ program, which the Times – and the rest of the media – ignored. The positive effect of Sanders’ stimulus program was well measured by the economists at Amherst. The one true analysis that has been done shows that his programs will increase employment and national income. This is the same Democratic Party and newspaper that says Obama’s stimulus program came from heaven itself, but almost the same program proposed by Sanders is obviously nuts and the numbers don’t add up. This isn’t whether I support Sanders or not. This is about media bias, pure and simple.
Palast: In general, when I’ve been reporting about the theft of U.S. elections, for years. When I wrote about tens of thousands of Black people getting their names wiped off the voter roles in 2000 by Katherine Harris – which elected Bush – it was top of the nightly news in Britain, but in the U.S. it was completely blacked out.
DB: U.S. media had access.
Palast: ABC had a contract to run BBC’s vote theft news, but didn’t. Then CBS said they would run the story. Dan Rather’s people called me, then backed out. I told them Black people were wiped off the voter roles. I had the list in my hands, letters in my hands from the office of Jeb Bush, who was the Governor of Florida and brother of the candidate. When I asked why they didn’t run the story, they said they had called Jeb Bush’s office, and he said it wasn’t true. That was the end of the story. They couldn’t even say, “The BBC and The Guardian say this and Bush says this …” This is continuing to happen.
In 2004, when BBC and The Guardian ran my story about the theft of the election in Ohio, the Times picked up the story on the front page. It said, “Internet Rumors of Election Theft Easily Debunked.” That was the headline.
DB: It demonstrates the ridiculous nature of what they call journalism.
Palast: So thank you for letting my stories in through the electronic Berlin Wall.
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Dennis J. Bernstein is the executive producer of Flashpoints, syndicated on Pacifica Radio, and is the recipient of a 2015 Pillar Award for his work as a journalist whistleblower. He is most recently the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom.
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