Over the last two presidential debates, both Democratic and Republican candidates have asserted that the television news media is biased and has done a poor job informing voters of the most pressing issues in the election.
And while their focus is on things like the type of questions asked by debate moderators, they are overlooking much clearer signs of potential conflicts of interest. Fundraising disclosures released this month and in July reveal that lobbyists for media companies are raising big money for establishment presidential candidates, particularly Hillary Clinton.
The giant media companies that shape much of the coverage of the presidential campaign have a vested stake in the outcome. From campaign finance laws that govern how money is spent on advertising to the regulators who oversee consolidation rules, the media industry has a distinct policy agenda, and with it, a political team to influence the result.
The top fundraisers for Clinton include lobbyists who serve the parent companies of CNN and MSNBC.
The National Association of Broadcasters, a trade group that represents the television station industry, has lobbyists who are fundraising for both Clinton and Republican candidate Marco Rubio.
Presidential campaigns are obligated by law to send the Federal Election Commission a list of lobbyists who serve as “bundlers,” collecting hundreds of individual checks on behalf of a candidate’s campaign.
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“One of the direct answers on why Bernie Sanders won't get elected, is because Wall Street would not let him get elected. [...] In the current structure that we do have, of this two party system, he is not electable because the rich bankers and so forth, media apparatuses, will not allow him to go any further. They will demonize him ... it will feel like Hillary Clinton is the only possibility.”
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.