Bernie Sanders Campaign to Launch Livestream Channel


Bernie Sanders supporters at a rally in Los Angeles, March 23, 2019. (Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)
Bernie Sanders supporters at a rally in Los Angeles, March 23, 2019. (Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)

The Bernie Sanders campaign will use the hype surrounding the first Democratic presidential primary debate to launch a livestream video channel that it plans to offer multiple days a week, during both mornings and evenings.

The livestream feed will go live Thursday, ahead of Sanders’s appearance in the second night of Democratic primary debates.

It will be broadcast on Sanders’s website through the gaming channel Twitch and blasted across the standard social media channels — Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. And it will be disseminated in small replay segments to the other standard channels that don’t take live video, such as Instagram and Snapchat.

One of the names considered for the project was Bernie TV, but it’s not really about the socialist Democratic candidate for president from Vermont, ironically.

Rather, the Sanders campaign sees it as a way to do two things as once, said a senior campaign official who detailed the plans to Yahoo News. They will use it to build grassroots support and engagement by talking to and about supporters. Already, they have filmed a Vice News-style segment about a McDonalds worker struggling to make ends meet. Sanders is calling on McDonalds to raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Sanders, who as mayor of Burlington, Vt., in the 1980s, hosted a public access show for several years, also sees the project as a way to go around the mainstream cable news networks, which he views as deeply compromised by corporate control and the drive to attract ratings and make money rather than to provide a public service.

His livestream channel will be an attempt to do in 2020 what he could not do through mainstream press channels four years earlier, his campaign said.

“What media does and what media loves is conflict and political gossip and polls and fundraising and all that stuff,” Sanders said in 2016. “What media loves is to focus on the candidates. What the American people, I believe, want is for us to focus on them, not the candidates, not anymore.”

Sanders, after the 2016 election, expressed regret at not being able to do more to draw attention to the issues that everyday people care about, and to the individual stories of working-class and poor Americans.

“One of the things that I did in the campaign … was to go into parts of the country where media very rarely goes, and I wanted to be talking to people, and I wanted to see if we can get some national exposure. And in a sense, I failed. We had media following me all over the place, what they call embedded media, from all the networks and major newspapers, but basically they did not write about what we were seeing in various parts of the country,” he said.

“The point is there are a lot of people hurting in this country. And their pain doesn’t get on CBS or NBC. And some of them, mistakenly, thought that Trump was talking to them” in the 2016 election, Sanders said.

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