Bernie Sanders crushed the debates by every measurable indicator except one: pundits’ opinion.
October 14, 2015
If we had to decide the winner of last night’s Democratic debate with only the opinions of establishment media pundits, Hillary Clinton won by a landslide. But social media and online polls overwhelmingly chose Bernie Sanders as the winner. So which is true? Is Hillary the inevitable candidate the insider media has been telling us she is since day one, or is the corporate media pushing a pro-Hillary agenda on a pro-Bernie electorate?
The punditocracy is in full agreement that Hillary Clinton was the winner:
–NPR wrote, “Hillary Clinton, the candidate with the most to lose, may have come away having gained the most.”
-In a New York Times article with the highly-misleading headline, Who Won and Lost the Debate? The Web Has Its Say, The Times wrote, “Hillary Rodham Clinton was the clear victor, according to the opinion shapers in the political world (even conservative commentators),” citing the opinions of overpaid pundits rather than actual people on the internet.
–The Guardian added to the mix, stating,”If you need to pick a winner from Tuesday night’s Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton will do.”
-Vox.com — launched by former Washington Post Wonkblog editor Ezra Klein (who launched Vox after WaPo laughed his $10 million funding proposal out of the room) — has been vociferous in their defense of Clinton. Today they ran the headline, Hillary Clinton Silenced Her Critics, full of breathless praise for the former Secretary of State. The article mentioned Bernie Sanders exactly once.
-Revealingly, Poynter.org, which covers the news media, pointed out the media’s favoritism, saying, “Press calls Hillary Clinton the winner, no contest.”
–The Boston Globe was the most obvious in its beating of the Hillary Clinton war drums, as evidenced by these three headlines from this morning:
For people who depend on news outlets like these for their information, they may as well just give in and vote for Clinton, given her apparent inevitability. But the internet tells a different story, in just about every imaginable metric. As this graphic shows, editors of CNN, Slate, and TIME had a starkly different opinion of who won compared to viewers.
According to US News and World Report, Bernie Sanders was the most talked-about candidate on Facebook, with Clinton in a distant second. A US News liveblog poll, conducted on Facebook, asked viewers to select the candidate they think won the debate. Sanders was the overwhelming favorite, with 82 percent of the vote.
Bernie Sanders was mentioned 407,000 times on Twitter — more than any candidate combined. He also picked up an astonishing 42,730 new followers during and after the debate, compared to Hillary Clinton’s 25,475 new followers. In an analysis of tweets, 69 percent of those mentioning Bernie Sanders were positive. Only 56 percent of tweets mentioning Hillary Clinton were positive. When comparing the frequency of mentions, Bernie Sanders’ name or handle was mentioned 12,000 times per minute, while Clinton’s name or handle was mentioned 8,300 times per minute.
In Bernie Sanders’ closing statement, the Vermont senator mentioned how he recently set fundraising records by raising $26 million in the last quarter with over 650,000 contributors giving an average donation of $30. Sanders even threw in a last-minute fundraising ask, and it worked: the candidate gained a whopping $1.4 million in new contributions after the debate.
4. Focus Groups
When the mainstream media polled focus groups to ask who won the debate, group participants overwhelmingly chose Bernie Sanders. CNN selected a group of undecided voters in Nevada; conservative messaging guru Frank Lutz picked a focus group of Democratic voters in Florida; Fusion picked out a focus group of millennial voters from Miami. And in each instance, focus groups thought Bernie Sanders won the debate. Luntz’ participants described Sanders as “strong,” “smart,” and “for the people,” with nearly all participants picking him as their favorite. Fusion’s focus group picked Sanders 8-3.
5. Online Polling
Out of every mainstream media organization conducting an online poll asking participants who won, Bernie Sanders destroyed the competition. It wasn’t even close. Even Fox News and Drudge participants said Sanders won by a huge margin.
One of the biggest embarrassments for big media last night showed in online polls conducted by CNN. Two separate polls each picked Sanders as the winner.
Curiously, this poll was removed from CNN’s website, and is only shown here thanks to a Reddit user’s screenshot. CNN removed the poll and replaced it with a pro-Clinton headline:
Why would CNN so obviously disregard its viewers’ opinions in favor of pushing a pro-Clinton narrative? It might be partially because CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, is one of Hillary Clinton’s biggest donors:
6. Google Searches
Bernie Sanders was by far the most-googled candidate of the night, surpassing all of his competitors before the debate, during the debate, and afterward. No other candidate came close.
Something is seriously wrong inside corporate media newsrooms. Either editors and pundits are so incompetent at their jobs that they wrongly assume Hillary Clinton was the favorite in last night’s debate, or they’re purposefully shoving Hillary Clinton down our throats and denying Bernie Sanders’ obvious popularity.
C. Robert Gibson is editor-in-chief of US Uncut. His past work has been published in The Guardian, Al Jazeera America, NPR, and the Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter: @crgibs