MSNBC Pitches Biden

MSNBC Pitches Joe Biden, Then Ignores Poor and Low-Income Voters

Yesterday, MSNBC pitched Joe Biden while largely ignoring the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC) as they held a Moral Action Congress forum in Washington, D.C. with 8 Democratic Party presidential candidates running in 2020. The forum was hosted by MSNBC’s own Joy Reid, and the candidates were questioned by Rev. Dr. William Barber and the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharris, as well as low-income voters from across the country. It was livestreamed from 1pm – 7:30pm. Participating and answering questions were Joe Biden, Andrew Yang, Marianne Williamson, Elizabeth Warren, Eric Swalwell, Wayne Messam, Bernie Sanders, and Kamala Harris.

At the outset, Rev. Barber noted that none of the 2016 presidential debates had any questions related to poverty, voter suppression or voting rights in America. Barber stressed the point that there are ‘less voting rights today than 50 years ago.’ He asked each candidate if they would commit to a televised debate on the relationship between poverty, systemic racism, ecological devastation, the war economy, and Christian Nationalism. All 8 said they would.

Here is a timeline of what I noticed monitoring MSNBC for the day, while watching the Moral Action Congress forum:

1:45pm – 1:54pm MSNBC aired 10 minutes of Joe Biden speaking at the forum.
2:12pm MSNBC had commentary about Joe Biden’s words after he finished.
2:30pm With no other coverage of the forum, MSNBC aired polls favorable to Joe Biden (a poll that also included Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren) with a ‘Republican’ commenting on Sanders and Warren. 
2:35pm While the PPC forum was live and Andrew Yang spoke, MSNBC still had no other coverage of it, but they did pitch a future townhall event on their network unrelated to the forum.
3:38pm Still no other coverage of the forum, but more polls aired that were favorable to Joe Biden.
5:06pm Still no other coverage, but more polls favorable to Joe Biden. At this point, Williamson, Warren, and Swalwell had spoken in addition to Biden and Yang.
5:12pm MSNBC airs a report from the forum, and talks about Donald Trump’s reelection efforts, yet still no other report of any of the 4 hours of questions and commentary by Rev. Barber, Rev. Theoharris, or the many poor and low-income voters, or any of the 4 candidates who had spoken to this point and answered questions about poverty in America, other than Biden. 
7:35pm The forum ended after Messam, Sanders, and Harris had spoken and answered questions on poverty in America (there are over 140 million poor and low-income people in America), and MSNBC aired none of it other than the Biden coverage.

All 8 candidates gave enthusiastic and detailed responses, some with specific policy changes they would call for to combat poverty in America. Mostly all mentioned issues that America has had in place for generations, that have fostered mass inequality, poverty, systemic racism, and voter suppression. Bernie Sanders stated, “there will never be any real change in this country, unless there is a political revolution,” and called for all to “stand together and fight.”

As MSNBC promotes their Decision 2020 primary election coverage, it is clear they are seeking a repeat of the 2016 campaign when the DNC actively colluded against Bernie Sanders and any real change or reform in American politics or policy, while giving large chunks of airtime to discussing Donald Trump, and Joe Biden (in 2016 that time was given to Hillary Clinton), while the 140 million (+) poor and low-income voters are ignored again.

It is easy to see why journalist, historian, author, and political commentator Paul Street calls the network MSDNC.

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