I’ll make this quick and easy. The mainstream media is not trusted by a large part of the country because they have an entrenched liberal worldview bias they refuse to acknowledge or make any attempts to ameliorate.
The mainstream media is hated by an also large part of the country because of the sharply different ways it covers Republicans and Democrats and now how it covers President Trump and everyone else…and a heavy dose of disconnected arrogance. This has resulted in abysmal trust ratings among Americans.
A recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll found fully 37 percent said they trust the media “not at all.” Another 31 percent said they have “not very much” trust in the news media. But more telling is the worldview breakdown on “How much do you trust the media?”:
Worldview A great deal A good amount Not very much Not at all
Very liberal – Liberal 15% 40% 27% 17%
Moderate 5% 25% 40% 28%
Conservative – 5% 9% 28% 57%
So the more liberal a person, the more they trust the media and the more conservative the less they trust the media. Among moderates, more distrust than trust.
This trust goes to the brink of absurdity in this strange poll question by Fox News Poll, which was largely negative about Trump — so hardly biased. When asked who was a bigger threat to the country, white supremacists or the media, 47 percent of respondents said white supremacists, while 40% said the media and 9 percent said they were the same. So half of Americans say the media is an equal or bigger threat to America than white supremacists. That is absurdly close, and even 24 percent of non-whites said the media.
Yet, when you break it down by Republican and Democrat, 12% of Democrats said the media while 69 percent of Republicans said the media. Independents were split evenly, within the margin of error — about half with an opinion said it was the media. See the chart below for more
(Apologies for the stupid small chart.)
And yet, with these straightforward, shocking numbers staring them right in the face, the media still does not see it’s liberal media bias as a problem — or even a real thing!
This plays out obviously in news coverage — obvious unless you are liberal, as the data shows. So liberal media consumers — and journalists — are the only two groups that see no obvious issue. It’s like the final scales should be falling, and yet the media remains utterly blind.
Here’s how it looks in coverage during Obama
In the eight years of President Obama’s presidency, we saw:
- North Korea miniaturized its nuclear weapons and reached the point of delivering them on ICBMs, meaning they can reach at least half of the United States with nuclear weapons. Media yawned.
- The creation of the worst treaty since Munich with the signing of the Iran nuclear accords and providing the avowed enemy of the United States with billions of dollars in cash — flown to them on an airplane! Media covered glowingly.
- The precipitous and disastrous pullout from Iraq and red-line waffling in Syria that opened the door to the world scourge that is ISIS and the cleansing of Christians and Yazidis from the region. Media pointed out George W. Bush started the Iraq War and ISIS is really bad. Was Obama president then?
- The weakening of the United States military through funding cuts and the emboldenment of Russian aggression in Crimea, Ukraine and Syria, leaving the free West in an overall weaker position. Media reported that Russia is bad!
- The worst economy since the end of World War II, a “recovery” that was so weak that virtually no one could feel it as wages were stagnant, jobs below population growth and a sharp rise in income disparity. Media reminded us how terrible things were when Obama took office and that Republicans blocked all these good ideas.
- The ruination of the healthcare system in the country to the point that even Democrats know that Obamacare has failed and needs dramatic changes. Media reported how hard it was for people to get good healthcare. The system’s broken! Was Obama president then?
- Scandals such as the IRS targeting conservative groups, a la Richard Nixon; Obama’s knowing about Hillary’s private and unprotected email server; Obama seizing AP reporters’ phone records; Benghazi; gun-running Operation Fast and Furious; and so many more were big yawners to the media. Nothing to see here.
For eight years, the coverage was soft and largely positive. Many press conferences were downright fawning.
Here’s how it looks in coverage during Trump
But almost overnight, the media found its fangs again. Compare the Obama coverage to just the first few months of the Trump presidency.
- Protest! Protest! Protest! Protest! Protest! But the unending protests and favorable coverage seem to have one point: Undermine the President. The obvious agenda and funding behind the protests go unreported in the mainstream media. But any similar protests of an Obama presidency would have been greeted with racism, racism, racism. In fact, that is what the media turned the Tea Party image into: Racists.
- Russia! Russia! Russia! Russia! Russia! Hysterical coverage of the longed for collusion between Trump and Russia has come up empty. Months of coverage and wild, irresponsible speculation meant to undermine the President has resulted in…the equivalent of finding Big Foot or the Loch Ness Monster. Lots of nothing.
- Nazi! Nazi! Nazi! Nazi! Nazi! And of course the media hyper-focuses on a few hundred white supremacist Nazis and does everything possible to tie Trump to them, then all Trump supporters to them, then all Republicans. The media makes the overt attempt to delegitimize the President, his supporters and the Republican Party. At the same time, they call the violent, masked mix of Marxists and anarchists that make up Antifa the good guys. Why? Because they oppose Trump and his supporters. The fact that Antifa was being violent against conservatives long before Charlottesville, and before Trump goes largely unreported. The media only noticed them at Charlottesville and called them merely “counter-protesters.”
The media has played the biggest role in polarizing Americans and breaking our ability to communicate with each other — more than the two parties and even the protesters. And for that, a very large chunk of Americans hate them or simply dismiss them as untrustworthy.
Few options to the deep media damage
Major Garrett, now with CNN, recently said on the Hugh Hewitt radio show that his colleagues need to cover the president straightforward and honest. Just report what he says and does, and avoid all of the opinionating and pontificating that has erupted since January.
Good for him. That’s true…as far as it goes. But the media needs to step back much further and choose to cover the same types of stories with the same news judgment as it did with, say, Barak Obama. Otherwise, the above comparisons show that even following Major Garrett’s recommendation, coverage would still be terribly slanted.
The traditional media may well have passed the point of no return on this front with their deeply entrenched biases, incapable of seeing both the error of their way and the damage it has done to their industry. (See poll results above.)
The hatred and distrust of the mainstream media will just continue to feed the division between a left-leaning media establishment and a right-leaning media establishment and Americans choosing which meal they will dine on.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Revolutionary Act.