64 Media: Influence and Impact


An image of Bernie Sanders on a stage. Bernie is standing to the right and several people are standing in front of a podium.
On August 8, 2015, activists for Black Lives Matter in Seattle commandeered presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign rally in an effort to get their message out. (credit: modification of work by Tiffany Von Arnim)

Democratic primary candidate Bernie Sanders arrived in Seattle on August 8, 2015, to give a speech at a rally to promote his presidential campaign. Instead, the rally was interrupted—and eventually co-opted—by activists for Black Lives Matter.[1]

Why did the group risk alienating Democratic voters by preventing Sanders from speaking?

While some questioned its tactics, the organization’s move underscores how important the media are to gaining recognition, and the lengths to which organizations are willing to go to get media attention.[2]

Media: Questions to Consider

  1. What does it mean to have a free news media?
  2. What regulations limit what media can do?
  3. How do the media contribute to informing citizens and monitoring politicians and the government, and how do we measure their impact?

  1. Dan Merica, "Black Lives Matter Protesters Shut Down Sanders Event in Seattle," CNN, 10 August 2015.
  2. Conor Friedersdorf, "A Conversation about Black Lives Matter and Bernie Sanders," The Atlantic, 21 August 2015.


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