Media Turn Blind Eye to Money in Politics

Media Turn Blind Eye to Money in Politics

Most network evening news broadcasts and Sunday shows have dedicated little substantive time to covering campaign finance reform. The sparse coverage of the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling and last week’s four-day Senate debate on a constitutional amendment to undo the decision “is part of a larger pattern in which the networks have largely underreported the rolling back of campaign finance reform and the unprecedented influx of billions of dollars into the federal election system,” according to the Media Matters for America report. 

“I am disappointed, but not surprised, by the study’s finding that the major networks barely covered the issue of money in politics,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders. “There is a reason why confidence in the American media is declining,” he added. “More and more people say the media is not paying attention to the issues of real importance to the American people.  This study confirms that.”

The study found that each network devoted less than single minute per month to talking about campaign finance reform. “To my mind,” Sanders said, “the single most important issue facing our country today is that, as a result of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, we are allowing billionaires to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to elect candidates who will represent the wealthy and powerful rather than the needs of ordinary Americans. This is an issue of enormous consequence. 

Sanders cited a recent Gallup poll that found Americans' faith in television news and newspapers is at or tied with record lows. The findings continued a decades-long decline in the share of Americans saying they have "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in newspapers or TV news.