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6 Oct, 2015 00:42

Hillary ‘feels the Bern’ as MSM ignores Sanders’ surging poll numbers

Hillary ‘feels the Bern’ as MSM ignores Sanders’ surging poll numbers

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is gaining ground on Hillary Clinton, the party’s establishment candidate, in key early-voting states. His surging popularity comes despite a lack of coverage by the mainstream media.

The latest polls would certainly suggest that Sanders is doing something right. He holds a double-digit lead over Clinton in New Hampshire ahead of its first-in-the-nation primary, while he has managed to close the gap in Iowa ahead of the country’s first caucuses there.

Yet Sanders continues to slip under the media radar despite breaking the record for attendance at a primary event and raising $26 million in the last three months.

Over 20,000 supporters ‒ though some say the number was nearer 30,000 ‒ converged on the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on Saturday to hear Sanders speak. It was a record for a pre-primary event in the commonwealth of Massachusetts. To put that figure in context, around 10,000 people turned out in 2008 to listen to Barack Obama when he was vying for the presidency.

The high turnout for Sanders in a state neighboring his native Vermont was anything but a flash in the pan. An estimated 27,000 came out to hear the 74-year-old speak in Los Angeles, while 15,000 showed up in Seattle. What makes these figures even more impressive is that Sanders has been almost ignored by the US media.

Andrew Tyndall monitored broadcast news from three of America’s biggest broadcast networks ‒ ABC, NBC and CBS. A total of 504 minutes were devoted to the presidential race, with Sanders receiving a mere eight minutes of coverage.

READ MORE: Presidential campaign 2016: US media 'congenitally allergic' to issues of substance

Donald Trump, the Republican frontrunner, was given an astounding 145 minutes ‒ or 30 percent of the total. Even 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney received eight minutes of coverage when he merely considered tossing his hat into the ring for 2016.  

“The gross negligence of the traditional media is just astounding on so many issues and certainly on this campaign,” Jonathan Tasini, author of a new book, The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America, told RT.

“They don’t give him the coverage because they don’t take him seriously. I think one of the things that the traditional media is angry about is that they are becoming less relevant and that Bernie is kicking butt on social media,” he added.

Evidence that Sanders is getting his message out to the people can be seen in the number of donations he has been able to amass: 1.3 million contributions from 650,000 people, who between them have given $26 million to the 74-year-old’s campaign. This even surpasses Obama’s 2008 pre-primary figures. The current US president only received $20 million in donations in the third quarter of 2007.

By comparison, Clinton amassed $28 million during the third quarter of 2015, but Tasini believes that Sanders is on an upward curve and expects him to surpass the former secretary of state by the time of the New Hampshire primary, which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, February 9, 2016.

“His donors can continue to donate 10, 20, 30 times. Her donors have maxed out at the $2,700 limit. He [Sanders] is going to be able to raise even more money because it’s going to get even more enthusiastic,” Tasini said.

Sanders' campaign has been notable for his insistence on not running negative ads or stooping to attacks on his opponents. He even refuses to discuss the ongoing scandal over Clinton’s private email server, which continues to dog her campaign.

Since announcing his run for the Democratic nomination five months ago, two of Sanders’ key pledges have been to improve the lives of ordinary Americans and to be a person they can relate to.

“The key things that are really capturing people’s imagination are the power of the banks and that people do not have control of their lives because of the power of the banks and Bernie wants to break those banks up. He has talked about inequality for years and the way that billionaires have taken over society and the fact that people don’t get decent wages,” Tasini told RT.

However, TJ Walker, a conservative media analyst and commentator, all but wrote off Sanders’ chances of winning the Democratic nomination when speaking to RT.

“He is running for a party nomination that he has never been a member of [as Sanders is officially an independent]. And he has virtually zero support in terms of endorsements from Democratic members of Congress, the political establishment. Those do mean things in presidential races,” he said.

The stage is now set for Sanders to try to build on his growing momentum as the Democratic candidates prepare for their party's debate on October 13 in Las Vegas. Tasini believes this is where Sanders will be in his element.

“One of the main reasons Bernie wants more debates is because he is very comfortable on the issues and he believes the American people want that,” Tasini concluded.