Opinion: Sanders shines light on economic inequality issues

Vermont’s Independent senator and presidential primary candidate has succeeded in getting mainstream print media to change its economic reporting. While once dismissing his candidacy as quixotic, and his ideas as radical and fringe, they are now responding to public opinion and carrying articles about the core issues our favorite son has pushed to the forefront. It is shameful that this reporting did not occur sooner. But better late than never, and the shift in reporting may contribute to a shift in policy making. We can hope.
Sen. Sanders’ passionate appeals for us to examine economic inequality and the assumptions underlying free trade, it turns out, may not be the mere “socialist” and left-wing rhetoric that has been alleged in the mainstream print media. According to The New York Times on March 15 and 16, economic inequality may be contributing significantly to economic stagnation and the promise of free trade being a tide that eventually lifts all boats just may not be happening.
Middle-class and working-class Americans have known this for years. Hence the voter anger manifesting itself in both Republican and Democratic primaries. Non-mainstream “fringe” publications and think tanks have been presenting similar evidence for years. Why then did mainstream media ignore contrarian evidence and the everyday experience of so many Americans? Perhaps they try too hard to please their most valued readers, those wealthy consumers who make expensive ads pay. Perhaps they don’t want to offend advertisers. Or perhaps they have just been blinded by their own interests and the luster of their own lifestyles.
In any case, it appears that the news is catching up with the truth. We can be thankful that this is in large part due to the fact that Sen. Sanders had the courage to speak truth to power. It may be too late for his campaign. But it may not be too late to inject some reason and reality into American political discourse, which has too long neglected some very painful truths.
Randy Kritkausky

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