Bernie: Quality journalism not possible without a living wage, and when corporations prioritize profit

The following is a campaign letter Sen. Bernie Sanders sent to supporters December 9, 2022.

Today in America, after decades of consolidation and deregulation, some eight multi-national media companies control almost all the news you watch, read, hear, and download.

All across the country, corporate conglomerates and hedge fund vultures have bought and consolidated local newspapers and slashed their newsrooms — all while giving executives and shareholders big payouts.

The result of this trend has been the decimation of journalism.

The result of this trend is more than 1,400 communities across the country losing local newspapers, which are also outlets for local TV, radio, and digital sites that rely on them for reporting.

The result of this trend is ad networks lining up for billions of dollars a year in pharmaceutical and oil ads while failing to provide a consistently fair hearing for issues like Medicare for All or downplaying coverage of the climate crisis.

The result of this trend is that — according to one study published by Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, a non-partisan forum — despite millions of Americans struggling to survive, budget-strapped newsrooms “have not turned their attention to poverty.”

In other words, at precisely the moment we need more reporters covering the health care crisis, the climate emergency, and economic inequality, the corporate media is incentivized to ignore or downplay these critical issues.

The American people desperately need high-quality journalism.

I believe that is why most reporters and newspaper staff get into this work.

I am not talking about the ones that are paid millions of dollars to pontificate about frivolous political gossip, but the ones who, in the words of Joseph Pulitzer, undertake the painstaking reporting that will “fight for progress and reform, never tolerate injustice or corruption, [and] always fight demagogues.”

When we have had real journalism, we have seen crimes like Watergate exposed and confronted. When we have lacked real journalism, we have seen crimes like mortgage fraud go unnoticed and unpunished, leading to a devastating financial crisis that destroyed millions of Americans’ lives.

I bring this up today because New York Times journalists and staff are currently attempting to bargain for a fair contract with management at the paper, but have not been met with good faith.

The staff at The New York Times are fighting for a living wage and fair pay — something that is not so radical when the company just approved $150 million in stock buybacks for its investors.

Real journalism requires significant resources, and one reason we do not have enough real journalism in America right now is because far too many media outlets are led primarily by the pursuit of profit as opposed to investing in the workers and resources it takes to educate the people of this country and hold the powerful accountable.

It is long past time in this country to reinstate and strengthen media ownership rules.

It is long past time we limit the number of stations that large broadcasting corporations can own in each market and nationwide.

It is long past time in this country that we prevent tech giants like Facebook and Google from using their enormous market power to cannibalize and defund news organizations, especially the small and independent ones without the infrastructure to fight back.

And it is long past time in this country that we explore new ways to empower media workers to effectively collectively bargain with large corporations like The New York Times.

Our constitution’s First Amendment explicitly protects the free press because the founders understood how important journalism is to a democracy.

Quality journalism is not possible when media workers are unable to earn a living wage, and when corporations prioritize profit above all else.

We need to rebuild and protect a diverse and truly independent press so that real journalists and media workers can do the critical jobs that they love, and that a functioning democracy requires.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Michael Vadon

12 thoughts on “Bernie: Quality journalism not possible without a living wage, and when corporations prioritize profit

  1. Here’s an interesting Rogan clip on the $300+ million Gates donates to the media….

    Anybody remember all the Phizer commercials every 15 minutes sponsoring everythign on tv?

  2. If Bernie is so outraged at too low journalist salaries, why doesn’t Communist Bernie go after the many FAT CATS of biased liberal media – to GIVE BACK tneir $$$ share…. Ha Ha. Fat chance. Read about Rachel Maddow, BERNIE:

    “MSNBC re-signed Rachel Maddow through the 2024 election for $30 million per year as the network begins its search for a succession plan. The Daily Beast reported Maddow’s salary figure on Wednesday.

    The Rachel Maddow Show will continue to air weeknights at 9 pm ET until spring of 2022 when Maddow turns her attention to content producing and building with NBCUniversal. =

    A $30 million salary understandably disgusts the blue-collar working class. While you are manufacturing products in a sizzling shop, Maddow sits behind a teleprompter with a staff of yes men and links Donald Trump to Russia.

  3. Get on your marxist decoder ring to translate!

    He is calling for the complete control of all media, supported by wages provided by the government. Can you see how clever he is?

    Does he say anything about the lies and scandals? This is purposefully omitted. Why is he calling for this now? Because the entire charade of government controlled media of corporate controlled media is about to be exposed! That’s why he’s calling for this now! Heaven forbid any Vermonter find out the truth! Quick we have to do something!

    He never talked about it before.

    We have to be wiser than the snakes we deal with and more innocent than doves.

    • And if we look on twitter we can probably find him telling Vermont digger they need to shut down the commentary section…….snakes….

      • And now if we follow the money we’ll find the controlled media. Does suddenly VT DIgger get millions of dollars in grants….. 🙂

        Money from non-profits….to support quality journalism!…lol…..

        MCM…marxist controlled media

  4. The Legacy Media is but a hollowed out shell now -making it available for things like Big Pharma ads to move in.
    People that actually do know what is going on, have left these dying breeds that put themselves out of business because people get the difference between “Journalism” and “Propaganda”.
    It reminds me of the empty malls all over the country- what will go into these places?
    “ANYTHING” says the guy paying the bills on the money pits..

    Bernie doesn’t like how Journalism looks today.
    There are just untold numbers of fantastic news sites and independent citizen journalists that all work for free in many cases.
    We’re ALL Journalists today..
    No one and nothing can control these places and people quite often- and that is what Bernie doesn’t like. The last thing they want on his side is smart, informed people that stop believing them and then leave The Democrat Plantation.

    Bernie wants the news all controlled- and to his liking.

  5. You stupid old communist there hasn’t been quality journalism since the corrupt press figured out it could control the public during the Vietnam war. Ever since they’ve been a propaganda arm of the DNC and only deserve to wither on the vine not be paid more. When they stopped informing the public of facts not their facts then we can talk about it but that ain’t gonna happen. 60% of the public believes the msm is FAKE news so spew your crapola somewhere else burnie…

  6. Bernie knows that the majority of the privately-owned media is essentially State-controlled, but is upset they are not as on board with SOME parts of his agenda as others. The Left controls most of the broadcast and print media, all of public radio and television, K-12 public education and a majority of post-secondary education curricula. A disturbing number of Americans get their “news” late at night from Colbert and Kimmel, after about 5 beers. Seriously, Bernie, dont be so greedy.

  7. Is he serious? His people sent this to a conservative news source talking about quality journalism? Sometimes real life is funnier than fiction.

  8. Vermont’s Barking Buffoon, spewing pure nonsense again, I like this line,
    ” The American people desperately need high-quality journalism “, really
    not the ” Woke ” BS that he’s been promoting for years be it paper or on
    the internet…………………….

    Vermont’s so-called ” Independent “, now that’s funny, I guess Brooklyn Bernie
    is trying to show he’s relevant heading into his 2024 POTUS bid, and he can
    fix it all, just ask him, even though he’s accomplished ” Zero ” while being in DC
    but he’s set for life on your backs.

    Hey Bernie Bros, remember your leader already lost two pillow fights the last
    two times he ran, and it’s not going to get any better, he’s a third-stringer trying
    to play in the big leagues ………………… pretty pathetic !!

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