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23 Feb, 2016 15:29

Bernie Sanders 'censored' by MSNBC while criticizing trade deal

Bernie Sanders 'censored' by MSNBC while criticizing trade deal

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has been struggling with a media blackout throughout the campaign - and even during those rare moments when he is covered, he’s still being censored.

US broadcaster MSNBC is facing criticism for cutting away from live coverage of a Sanders press conference, just as he was condemning the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

READ MORE: TPP 'fundamentally flawed,' should be resisted - UN human rights expert

Media critics point out that the network’s owner Comcast stands to benefit greatly from the trade deal - and has largely been silencing any negative coverage.

"You’ve been listening to Bernie Sanders, less of a press conference, more of a speech," opined host Kate Snow. "I want to turn back to the Republican side of things."

Mainstream media outlets have been slammed for over-covering Republican candidates and Hillary Clinton as compared to Sanders.

READ MORE: ABC has given Bernie just… 20 seconds of airtime this year

Viewers took to social media to say they felt the break in coverage was because MSNBC’s owner Comcast does not want to air opposing remarks about the controversial agreement, with some branding the cutaway as censorship.

Of the near $16 million Comcast spent lobbying politicians in 2015, $40,000 alone was spent in the first three months of the year targeting the Senate and House of Representatives on issues relating to TPP.

Over an 18-month period between 2013 and 2015, Media Matters found that MSNBC only discussed TPP twice, with the exception of Ed Schultz, who discussed the agreement during 71 broadcasts while he was still hosting The Ed Show for MSNBC.

Schultz is currently host of News with Ed at RT America.

Comcast is not the only media company accused of under-reporting the controversy around TPP. Media Matters also found all three flagship evening news programs "completely ignored" it.

There were no mentions of "Trans-Pacific Partnership" or "TPP" during the CBS Evening News, ABC's World News Tonight, or the NBC Nightly News over the 18-month period.

Information released from the cyberattack on Sony Pictures in November 2014 revealed that media executives have been keen to see the agreement passed to ensure their profit margins.

An email from the industry’s lobbyist, the Motion Picture Association of America, sent to executives at NBC and Disney, the parent company of ABC, details how the companies need to show "strong support" and "continue to advocate to governments around the world about the pressing need for strong pro-IP trade policies such as TPP and the proposed EU/US trade agreement (TTIP)".