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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Staff

Bernie Sanders' rise is forcing news outlets to come to terms with ways they should covering his candidacy as a frontrunner, instead of a fringe candidate.

Why it matters: The media finds itself in the same position as it was in the 2016 election, when Donald Trump began to pull ahead in the Republican primary.

Driving the news: MSNBC plans "to seek out more smart, pro-Sanders voices," shifting coverage amid criticism, Vanity Fair's Joe Pompeo reports.

  • The news comes on the heels of MSNBC's Chris Matthews apologizing on air to Sanders after making comments comparing Sanders' Nevada win to the Nazi invasion of France.
  • Other mainstream news organizations, like the New York Times, have since revisited their coverage of Sanders' 2016 campaign, to better understand their coverage blindspots when it came to covering Sanders' "underdog" campaign.

The big picture: The Sanders campaign has long-asserted that the mainstream media is biased against it.

  • Earlier this year, the campaign created "The 99," an in-house live-streamed show that highlights the campaign's policy initiatives in a way that looks and feels like a news media broadcast. 
  • Sanders' campaign manager Faiz Shakir argued on CNN in August that the campaign has had to create its own outlet because mainstream media is too incentivized by corporate interests to cover issues fairly. 

Be smart: Media companies are an easy target because media has become one of the most polarizing institutions in America, and particularly during the Trump era. But it's usually Republicans that are likely to cry foul over mainstream media bias, not Democrats.

Go deeper: The evidence doesn't back Democrats' panic that Bernie can't win

Go deeper

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kevin McCarthy's rude awakening

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy is learning you can get torched when you try to make everyone happy, especially after an insurrection.

Why it matters: The House Republican leader had been hoping to use this year to build toward taking the majority in 2022, but his efforts to bridge intra-party divisiveness over the Capitol siege have him taking heat from every direction, eroding his stature both with the public and within his party.

The next big political war: redistricting

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats are preparing a mix of tech and legal strategies to combat expected gerrymandering by Republicans, who are planning to go on legal offense themselves.

Why it matters: Democrats failed to regain a single state legislature on Election Day, while Republicans upped their control to 30 states' Houses and Senates. In the majority of states, legislatures draw new congressional district lines, which can boost a party's candidates for the next decade.