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'Bernie Blackout': 81 Media Minutes on Trump = 1 Minute on Sanders
New Wall Street Journal/NBC News polling numbers out Sunday showed that Donald Trump continues to lead the wide and varied Republican presidential field and—despite increasingly inflammatory rhetoric—reached a new high with 27 percent support.
The latest survey comes on the heels of an analysis by the Tyndall Report which showed that media coverage of Donald Trump eclipses that of all his rivals from both parties.
According to the study of nightly news programs on NBC, CBS and ABC, Trump has received more network coverage than all the Democratic candidates combined and accounts for 27 percent of all campaign coverage thus far.
What's more, there appears to be a concerted "blackout" of news about Bernie Sanders, despite similar voter support.
As Eric Boehlert at Media Matters for America pointed out this week, "The network newscasts are wildly overplaying Trump, who regularly attracts between 20-30 percent of primary voter support, while at the same time wildly underplaying Sanders, who regularly attracts between 20-30 percent of primary voter support."
In fact, ABC World News Tonight devoted a total 81 minutes this year to Donald Trump's campaign and just about 20 seconds to Sanders' candidacy—a ratio of 81:1 which Boehlert calls a "stunning revelation." This comes despite the fact that a recent poll found that Sanders would beat Trump by eight points in the general election.
In a campaign statement, Sanders' campaign manager Jeff Weavers said that media channels were ignoring the progressive candidate because his campaign is an affront to the corporate-dominated system.
"The corporately-owned media may not like Bernie’s anti-establishment views but for the sake of American democracy they must allow for a fair debate in this presidential campaign," Weavers said. "Bernie must receive the same level of coverage on the nightly news as other leading candidates."
The campaign has even begun a petition calling on corporate-owned channels to "start covering Bernie."
Commenting on the stark divide on Sunday, columnist Juan Cole suggests that with Trump's anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant messaging propelling some followers to take drastic action, the corporate media may be posing a "danger to society."
"What better for corporate news. You pretend there isn’t a candidate in the race addressing growing economic inequality or the woes of the working class. You put all the spotlight on someone who insults and even incites against Mexican-Americans, African-Americans and Muslim-Americans. It is a tried and true tactic of the American business class to keep the workers and middle class divided by playing up minor ethnic issues. The end result, however, is fire-bombing of mosques and attacks on minorities and other white hood phenomena familiar from past epochs of American history."
For his part, the U.S. Senator from Vermont continues to lead Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire with 50 percent of likely Democratic voters in the state, compared with her 40 percent, according to the latest CNN/WMUR tally. Meanwhile, a Fox News survey released on Sunday found Clinton leading Sanders in Iowa 50 to 36 percent.
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A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.
"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."
The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.
My god, White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted today for first time since 2001. My family and I had gotten off it 20 minutes before, were waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it. Boat ride home tending to people our boat rescued was indescribable. #whiteisland pic.twitter.com/QJwWi12Tvt— Michael Schade (@sch) December 9, 2019
Michael Schade / Twitter
At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.
The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.
Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.
"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."
Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.
Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.
"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.
"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."
The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.
Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.
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