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.
But, how about the social media?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
This is a characteristic example of how internet not only breaks the mainstream media monopoly, but also exposes the unequal treatment in which they proceed in favor of a candidate they promote.