Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has a voice that is noticeably absent from the Sunday morning news programs. He is opposed to cutting Social Security. He is in favor of raising taxes on the wealthy. He stands firmly for economic views that have the support of majorities of working people in poll after poll. Yet, why is he not on “Meet the Press” or “Face the Nation”? Why would someone who has long advocated for what the American majority wants not be on these shows week after week, month after month?
Meanwhile, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona voted for gutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security when he voted in favor of the Senate version of the Republican-Ryan budget. He is clearly out of touch with the majority of Americans, yet why is he the one who is out front and center on the Sunday morning talk shows? Since the beginning of the year, he has been on the Sunday shows a whopping 10 times, three more times than the Senate minority leader and more than any other member of Congress.
In his piece today, Robert Greenwald sums it up perfectly: “The Sunday shows often set the tone for the upcoming political week. As the same voices drone on, the senator’s absence means the political and media elites are overlooking the forces squeezing working and middle class Americans.”
Progressive members of Congress such as Sanders have the ideas that are so desperately needed in our country’s current economic situation and the ability to articulate them. While McCain provides excellent sound bites, having him appear on Sunday talk shows ad nauseum does nothing but ensure his talking points will be repeated over and over again, while forward-thinking alternative policies from such legislators as Sanders will be forced into the closet, never to see the light of day.
Sanders is far from the only powerful voice for the American majority in Congress missing from the airwaves. Sens. Al Franken of Minnesota, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Barbara Boxer all voted against the Senate version of the Republican-Ryan budget, and should also be front and center in the Sunday news programs. But they are not.
Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) co-chair Representative Keith Ellison has only appeared on the Sunday morning shows one time this year, while CPC co-chair Rep. Raúl Grijalva, has not been on at all. And neither has former CPC co-chair Representative Barbara Lee.
At the end of his column, Greenwald posts the names and numbers of people to contact, to urge them to put Sanders and other elected officials who proudly stand up with the American Majority on their Sunday morning shows. I am sharing them as well, at the end of this post, in the hopes that those in the majority come together and respectfully ask to put these great heroes of the American majority on their news programs.
Getting these heroes of the American majority on television is just one step. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) has launched a petition drive to get the media to focus on “The People’s Budget,” a budget proposal crafted by the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Their budget provides common sense solutions to current problems all while saving the integrity of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. The budget also offers sound solutions that will ensure jobs for the unemployed. No one in the mainstream media is focusing their attention on this positive solution.
I urge you to sign the FAIR petition, and let the news agencies know that, frankly, this type of one-sided reporting is not acceptable; that “The People’s Budget” deserves the same amount of coverage as the Republican-Ryan so-called budget plan.
- Face the Nation: Carin Pratt, (202) 457-4481, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Meet the Press: Iliana Drimmer, (202) 885-4598, email@example.com
- This Week: (212) 456-7777 (push 5 and address your message to Rick Kaplan, executive producer of This Week)
- State of the Union: Michelle Jaconi, (404) 827-1500, firstname.lastname@example.org
To members of the mainstream media who want to air the voices of these heroes, Campaign For America’s Future has put together polling data about what the American majority is really saying. You can find all the information here.