It is no secret that some presidential candidates are more favored by the establishment than others. In 2016, for instance, Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush were each heavily backed by political big wigs, whereas Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump were almost universally despised. To get their preferred candidates elected, the establishment will spend massive amounts of money on their campaigns, fawned over them in the corporate press, and use all sorts of underhanded tricks to damage their competitors. The current darling of the Democratic establishment is California Senator Kamala Harris.

Separating fact from fiction

There is no disputing the fact that Harris has many qualities that give her a significant chance of winning the Democratic primary.

Because of her race and gender, she can appeal to two of the most important Democratic bases: minorities and women. In addition, she is from California, the state that sends (by far) the most delegates to the Democratic convention, which gives her a huge leg up on her opponents. If all the establishment pundits did was build a case for Harris as the frontrunner based on these advantages alone, there would be little to dispute. Instead, they manipulate the narrative by dishonestly reporting poll numbers and election-related news.

Take, for example, this Newsweek article by Katherine Hignett entitled, "Kamala Harris Surges Ahead of Democratic Candidates." Based on the title of this article, you might think that some new poll had been released showing Harris as the clear frontrunner in the Democratic field, or perhaps that she had come from several points behind to take the top spot.

In the second sentence of the piece, however, we learn that this is not the case, as "recent polls show Harris lagging behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders." This seems to directly contradict the article's headline, but Newsweek is more sly than that. They avoid publishing an outright lie by adding, "the California senator is first among Democrats that have announced their bids for the 2020 crown in recent polls from Monmouth University, New Jersey and Emerson College, Iowa." This is technically true, but it fails to take two important factors into account.

First of all, neither of the polls cited contained a question that included only "Democrats that have announced their bids" as possible choices; rather, they included Biden and Sanders, the leaders in both polls. Therefore, it is impossible to know whether Harris would be the leader in a hypothetical race without Biden and Sanders.

Many of Sanders's supporters would likely drift towards the more progressive Elizabeth Warren, for instance. Secondly, both Biden and Sanders are likely to enter the race at some point, which would make this state completely irrelevant.

The establishment decides what is news

Another way the establishment media pushes their narrative is by selective reporting of news. In the same Newsweek article, the author mentions some of the criticisms faced by Democratic candidates, including Harris. But there is a stark contrast between the criticisms listed for Harris and the types of criticisms listed for her rivals Elizabeth Warren and Tulsi Gabbard. For Warren, Hignett mentions the backlash against her claims of Native American ancestry.

For Gabbard, she mentions her recent apology for anti-LGBT activism before and during her career as a Hawaii state representative. And for Harris? Her recent admission that she smoked marijuana in college, and the fact that she tried on a "brightly-colored sequin jacket." The natural reaction of anybody reading that would be to say, "So what?" Nobody, especially not Democratic voters, cares whether she smoked marijuana in college. And nobody cares that she tried on an ugly jacket. Presenting these things as examples of Harris's criticisms makes her seem essentially issue-free, just as it is intended to do. But it leaves out the real controversies.

The real controversy surrounding Harris's admission to using marijuana in college was the fact that she appeared to say that she did so while listening to Tupac and Snoop Dogg, neither of whom had yet released their first album.

Either this is not what she was saying (it is not completely clear from the interview), she misremembered, or she was lying. If she was lying, this could be seen as an attempt to make herself look "cool" and pander to the pro-marijuana base after spending most of her political career advocating strongly against the legalization of marijuana.

Another legitimate criticism of Harris is her flip-flopping on the issue of single-payer healthcare.

During a CNN town hall, she stated that she supported the complete elimination of private healthcare plans. After facing backlash, she retreated from this position.

Protect yourself from establishment propaganda

Unfortunately, most people do not read beyond an article's headline. Very few dig deep into claims made by the authors of the piece, especially if they are ostensibly coming from the same side of the political aisle. To protect yourself against establishment mind-molding, never take anything they say at face value. Always think critically, and always verify the information presented to you. Learn their tricks to keep from falling for them next time around.