In this clip, Sen. Bernie Sanders says he believes “one of the Supreme Court’s worst decisions ever” — Citizens United — has allowed big money to “deflect attention from the real issues” facing voters.
He goes on to talk about the challenge of getting big media to cover these real issues, even when he is a guest on a news program. “They say, ‘Here’s the story of the day. What do you think about the Secret Service… What do you think about Ebola?'” Sanders tells Bill.
While Sanders recognizes these as “important issues,” many critical problems facing Americans are not being reported on, including income inequality, the eroding middle class and climate change. Sanders says: “One family, the Walton family of Wal-Mart, owning more wealth than the bottom 40 percent. Do you think we should be talking about that issue? You can’t get the discussion going on TV.”
The reason the media doesn’t cover these issues is because “it’s not in the interest of the corporations who own the networks to actually be educating the American people so that they are debating the real issues.”
Be sure to watch Bill’s full conversation with Sen. Bernie Sanders premiering on BillMoyers.com on Friday, Oct. 31, 2014.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:
I think the decision of the Supreme Court will go down in history in Citizens United as one of the worst decisions ever.
Free speech is your right to talk about any issue that you want. It is not your right to spend unlimited sums of money to control the United States government or state legislatures or governor seats all over this country. That is not what free speech is about. And the American people, by the way, in overwhelming numbers, do not agree with the Supreme Court.
I write you speak about this. I wager that just about everybody watching this show knows what you and I think about this issue. And yet, while you’re speaking and I’m reporting, those folks are out there creating a reality on the ground with their money. And things get worse.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:
Things are getting worse. You know, when you look at this campaign, and you realize the enormously serious issues this country faces, right, we got a collapsing middle class. We have more wealth and income inequality today than we’ve had since the 1920s. We have all of these enormous issues. And what big money can do is put an unbelievable amount of TV and radio ads out there to deflect attention from the real issues facing the American people. You tell me. How much serious discussion have we had on the collapse of the middle class, income and wealth inequality, climate change, the need not to get into another war in the Middle East. Have you heard much about that discussion?
Well, that’s interesting. Because, you know, I’ve seen you quite recently on television. What’s the story that the corporate press is not letting you tell?
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS:
Oh, my God. You see, this is the issue. I mean, I’ve been on a million of these shows. They say, here’s the story of the day. What do you think about the Secret Service? What do you think about this? What do you think about Ebola? All of those issues are important.
But the issues that impact ordinary people, is they’re asking why, despite all of the increase productivity, people are working longer hours for lower wages. Have we had that discussion, Bill? Have you ever heard anybody talking about it? They’re asking how come we’ve had this unfettered free-trade policies that have resulted in the loss of millions of good-paying jobs and you got both parties still saying, ‘Well, that’s pretty good.’
And this issue of income and wealth inequality, wow. One percent owning 37 percent of the wealth in America. Bottom 60 percent owning 1.7 percent. One family, the Walton family of Walmart, owning more wealth than the bottom 40 percent. Do you think we should be talking about that issue? You can’t get the discussion going on TV.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS:
Because it’s not in the interest of the corporations who own the networks to actually be educating the American people so that are debating the real issues. It’s much better to deflect attention away from those issues and get into the story of the day.