It’s rare for politicians, let alone presidential candidates, to weigh in on television show cancellations. But Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders made an exception when news broke Thursday that Comcast-owned MSNBC axed The Ed Show, the evening news show hosted by Ed Schultz.
“I am very disappointed that Comcast chose to remove Ed Schultz from its lineup,” Sanders said in a statement from his Senate office. “We need more people who talk about the real issues facing our country, not fewer.” The senator said that while “much of the corporate media regards politics as a baseball game or a soap opera” Schultz “has treated the American people with respect” by focusing on serious issues.
Schultz, in other words, is a man after Sanders' own heart. When Sanders first announced his presidential campaign in April, his gave his first television interview to the host. For more than 10 minutes, Sanders and Schultz talked about anti-police brutality protests, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, college education, the Islamic State, and whether he would be able to run a competitive campaign.
There were none of fluff questions Sanders says distract from the major issues affecting the American people (including, per his statement, “income and wealth inequality, high unemployment, low wages, our disastrous trade policies and racism in America”). Sanders has been on the show several times since starting his campaign, and as his Senate spokesman Vincent Morris tweeted, Sanders enjoyed his discussions on the show:
Sanders is more critical of the rest of the media landscape. Overnight, his campaign account tweeted that the “corporate media spends enormous time and energy diverting our attention away from the most important issues facing us.”
On social media, his supporters have been even more critical of the media, using the hashtag #BernieBlackout to argue that cable news gives much more airtime to other candidates, especially Republican Donald Trump.
“At a time when a handful of large, multi-national corporations own our major media outlets, I hope they will allow voices to be heard from those who dissent from the corporate agenda,” Sanders said in Thursday’s statement.
The cancellation of Schultz's show, along with MSNBC's The Cycle and Now with Alex Wagner, was reported by Mediaite. The news follows low ratings among the network’s afternoon shows. Politico reported that Chuck Todd, who hosts NBC’s Meet the Press, will now host a weekly show.