The race for the Democratic presidential nomination has been exciting. Democratic voters of all persuasions have been energized to pay attention to the nomination process. The early days of the process saw many candidates. It was not long, however, until it became clear that just two candidates stood any chance of winning with the voters. This is when the race boiled down to a competition between Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont. The two candidates excite different parts of the Democratic base. Sanders tends to appeal to younger votes. Clinton attracts more of the moderates in the party.
Journalists and pundits were surprised at early polling data showing that Sanders was actually leading in some states. Pundits were largely ignoring him at first. One reason is that Sanders does not have the same national name recognition that Clinton does. Another reason is that few thought voters would be so enthusiastic about someone who describes himself as a Democratic Socialist. The media soon changed gears and started taking Sanders seriously. He even managed surprise wins in some states beating out Hillary Clinton. There were still some problems with the coverage of his campaign when compared to others.
Many mainstream media outlets chose to simply ignore Sanders and focus more on Clinton. The reasons behind this decision are not always clear. Some outlets claim that all polling shows Sanders would not get the nomination causing them to exclude him from expensive coverage. Other reporters seemed to actively dislike Sanders. This was apparent in some newspapers where the majority of articles about the Sanders campaign were negative. Clinton receives negative coverage as well although she is reported on much more than Sanders. Something that happened the other night put a spotlight on the media and the way they are covering the Sanders campaign.
Bernie Sanders planned a campaign rally in Seattle at the Key Arena. This is not necessarily news in itself. What did create some buzz is that he sold out the arena. Over 17,000 people showed up to hear him speak. Another 10,000 were outside the arena watching his speech on monitors. Sanders even addressed the overflow crowds personally before going inside to take the stage. The curious thing is that almost all major media outlets decided not to broadcast or report on the rally. This left some Sanders supporters claiming media bias towards Hillary Clinton.
Media outlets are torn about how to cover Sanders. The reality is that the big wins Hillary Clinton gained recently have basically made her the party nominee. There is no realistic way that Sanders can catch up with her lead. The numbers simply are not there even though he is likely to win a number of western states like Utah. The Clinton campaign is turning towards the general election taking on a different strategy. This could potentially be the reason that mainstream media outlets are now reluctant to dedicate resources to covering a candidate who cannot win the primary. It is the same reason so many outlets ignored the candidacy of Jim Gilmore on the Republican side.
It might not seem fair to Sanders supporters who already feel slighted by the Democratic Party. Some supporters are even blaming the media for the poor showing Sanders had in many states. The idea is that if the media just reported more on Sanders, then a larger group of people might have come out to vote for him or turned away from Hillary Clinton. There really is not any data to back this claim up. It appears that the media have decided to start focusing exclusively on Clinton whether it is fair or not.