13 Dec 2015

Sanders: Media doesn't reflect reality in America

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders argued Saturday that the media is not reflecting the reality that Americans face.
“They’d rather have us fighting against each other, and black and brown and white and gay and straight, you’re born in Mexico, you’re born in America, let’s all fight it out,” he shouted. “Let’s have war with Mexico! Let’s ban all Muslims, let’s talk about that. Let’s not talk about how we all come together to create an economy that works for all rather than the top one percent.”
Sanders was responding to a question from a Mexican-American college student from San Diego who said as a child, she never saw people like her on television. She wondered whether public TV, at least, should be required to have more diverse characters, such as on programs for children.
Sanders did not take a stand on whether kids’ cartoons needed to be more diverse but did say there “need to be big changes” in media focus. He said the “despair” related to economic inequality doesn’t show up in the media.  “This is what I worry about. I think you can watch television 24/7 and not get a feeling that what you are seeing is the reality of American life in many respects,” he said.
Sanders, back in Iowa for the first time in nearly a month, listened more than he talked at a packed forum on racial justice and prison reform. “I have a long speech but I’m not going to give it,” he said.
He served largely as emcee and moderator for a panel discussion that featured a former Ohio state senator, Nina Turner, and two men who had served time in prison and now counsel other ex-convicts. They focused in particular on ways corrections systems set up parolees to fail, such as releasing them back into their former communities with no money, skills or job prospects.
“What this campaign is about is not sound bites. It is attempting to address some of the most important issues facing our country. It is an attempt to force discussion on issues that are often swept under the rug,” Sanders said.
Sanders reiterated positions he has taken on criminal justice reform, including removing marijuana from the federal list of dangerous drugs. When a Cedar Rapids man referred to “gutless politicians” who refuse to admit the war on drugs has failed, Sanders responded: “I don’t consider myself a gutless politician.”
He also called for universal restoration of voting rights for felons who have served their time.  He did not go into his proposal for taxpayer funded college tuition for all, but noted, “At the end of the day, providing a path for kids to go to the University of Iowa is a hell of a lot cheaper than giving them a path to jail,” he said.
An Anamosa woman who attended the event, Jamie Cavey, said she has never participated in a caucus before but may this year.  She said the forum brought out important points but focused more on describing the problems than suggesting solutions. “There was not really time to talk about what should be done to fix it,” Cavey said.

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