The last time a true Progressive ran for executive office, the mainstream corporate media simply ignored him and even shut him out of the debates. The year: 2008. The candidate: Dennis Kucinich. Eight years later, we have another true Progressive in Bernie Sanders – and this time, the corporate media finds it cannot ignore him. Case in point: the New York Times. However, rather than the saying being “If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them”, the saying is “If You Can Beat Them, Attack Them.”

When Sanders announced his candidacy back in April, the NY Times managed to make it all about Clinton, continuously emphasizing that it did not believe Sanders had any chance of winning. Sanders candidacy “won’t change the fact that Hillary Rodham Clinton is poised to win the Democratic nomination without a serious contest.” Sanders is “unlikely to mount a serious challenge to Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

Now, the Times is changing its tune a bit.  Yesterday, the lead of an article in the Politics section of the paper said, “Hillary Clinton’s Team Is Wary as Bernie Sanders Finds Footing in Iowa” The paper still refused to take Sanders’ campaign seriously. Only three days earlier, the Times published an article on Sanders about how his “Revolutionary Roots Were Nurtured in ’60s Vermont.” The Times painted the portrait of Bernie as a young man, full of youthful idealism, who, at age 73, “has had a steady, non-revolutionary job for quite some time now.”

Note the Times’ use of that loaded term, “revolutionary.”  At worst, it calls up images of long haired radicals and counterculture street protests that boiled over into violence nearly half a century ago.  At best, it implies that Sanders was a well-meaning hippie who, by this stage of life, should be waking up to certain realities – mainly, that the status quo is unlikely to change much.

And why should the mainstream corporate media want it otherwise? Nowadays, it’s more about selling advertising than anything else. On one hand, that means sensationalism. On the other hand, it means going with the flow. Avoid rocking the boat. Toe the party line, whether Democrat or Republican.

It seems that the Times, as well as the rest of the corporate mainstream media, is underestimating the frustration and anger of Americans across the political and cultural spectrum – and how that is translating into demands for real, immediate change. It’s about more than economic inequality. It’s about our survival as a nation – and ultimately, as a species. A generation of unbridled, unregulated, predatory capitalism has not only brought the country to its knees, it is threatening the planet. We can’t afford to wait for “incremental change.”

The collection of clowns, freaks and delusional psychotics making up the list of GOP candidates cannot be taken seriously. On the other hand, while Hillary Clinton is intelligent and calculating, the best she is able to do is give lip service to Progressive issues – and that’s only because she’s feeling the heat from Bernie Sanders. Of all the Presidential candidates, only Bernie Sanders has had the guts to stand up and speak the ugly truth – and he’s the only one offering real, workable solutions.

The American People are seeing it. The New York Times and other mainstream corporate media outlets need to start acknowledging it – or they may very well wake up one morning to find themselves irrelevant, as the Progressive Digital Media continues to grow at a record-breaking pace..


K.J. McElrath is a former history and social studies teacher who has long maintained a keen interest in legal and social issues. In addition to writing for The Ring of Fire, he is the author of two published novels: Tamanous Cooley, a darkly comic environmental twist on Dante's Inferno, and The Missionary's Wife, a story of the conflict between human nature and fundamentalist religious dogma. When not engaged in journalistic or literary pursuits, K.J. works as an entertainer and film composer.