With the 2016 presidential election being rife with misleading polling, Democratic bias and “fake news,” a new nationwide poll reveals that an overwhelming majority of Republicans (42 percent) no longer have confidence in America’s news media as a trustworthy source for information on political issues.
The Pew Research Center divulged that today, more than ever, Democrats and Republicans disagree about the fundamental role of the news media in society – as to whether it serves to keep politicians honest ... or actually distracts them from getting their job done.
“Today, in the early days of the Trump administration, roughly nine-in-10 Democrats (89 percent) say news media criticism keeps leaders in line – sometimes called the news media’s ‘watchdog role’ – while only about four-in-10 Republicans (42 percent) say the same,” Pew researchers reported. “That is a 47-percentage-point gap, according to a new online survey conducted March 13-27, 2017, among 4,151 U.S. adults who are members of Pew Research Center’s nationally representative American Trends Panel.“
Changing times …
However, this sentiment by both parties stands in stark contrast to what Pew found in last year’s January-February poll, which asked the same question to Democrats and Republicans.
“[I]n the midst of the presidential primary season, nearly the same share of Democrats (74 percent) and Republicans (77 percent) supported the watchdog role,” Pew recounted from last year’s numbers.
There has never been such a sheer contrast on how the parties view the media – since Pew began polling Americans on this question more than three decades ago in 1985.
“While Republicans have been more likely to support a watchdog role during Democratic presidencies and vice versa, the distance between the parties has never approached the 47-point gap that exists today,” Pew’s Michael Barthel and Amy Mitchell pointed out. “The widest gap up to now occurred during the George W. Bush administration, when Democrats were 28 points more likely than Republicans to support a watchdog role.”
Even though Democrats and Republicans differ greatly in their attitudes toward the news media in a number of ways, their views are the most disparate when it comes to the media’s role as a political watchdog.
“Compared with 2016, Democrats and Republicans are more divided on whether the press favors one side in its political coverage, on how much trust they have in national news media, and on how good a job national news organizations are doing in keeping them informed,” Barthel and Mitchell informed.
Americans’ choice for news is also reflected by the contrast in news media attitudes.
“Most prominently, Americans are also paying closer attention to national news now than in 2016, with that increase driven by Democrats,” Pew indicated. “Overall, four-in-10 Americans report following national news very closely, up from a third the year before. Among Democrats, about half (49 percent) say they follow it closely, also up from a third in 2016.”
And how Americans receive their news is also changing – particularly among Democrats.
“Nearly half of U.S. adults (45 percent) often get news on a mobile device,” the results show. “That is 9 percentage points above just a year ago, when 36 percent often got news this way, with significant growth occurring among Democrats, but not Republicans. What’s more, an increasing share of Americans also prefer getting news on mobile over a desktop computer. Among those who get news on both types of devices, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) say they prefer mobile.”
However, receiving news from family and friends is one constant in Americans’ news consumption over the years.
“Fifteen percent of Americans have a lot of trust in news that comes to them from friends and family – slightly lower than the trust levels for local and national news organizations – and 16 percent of online news consumers often get news there from people close to them (about a third as many as do so from news organizations),” the statisticians revealed. “These figures are on par with 2016 and show less partisan divide than other measures – just a 5-percentage-point gap, for instance, in trust of information from family and friends. There was a slight uptick in the share of Americans who say the political news they get from friends and family represents just one side rather than a mix (40 percent, up from 35 percent in 2016), with Democrats and Republicans equally likely to say this.”
Combatting new bias
In order to work around media bias, President Donald Trump has not only taken to social media to communicate his unadulterated messages, but he has recently launched a new website that includes a recap of his accomplishments during his first 100 days in the White House.
One page of his site has the heading, “The Truth the Mainstream Media is Hiding,” which is followed by Trump’s account on exactly what he is doing regarding a number of hot-button issues the media often approaches with a Leftist bias: “Unleashing the Power of American Energy; Restoring Balance to the Supreme Court; Securing Our Border; Strengthening Our Military; Proposing Tax Reform for Economic Growth and Jobs and; Working to End Reckless Trade Deals.”
Following the links, Trump’s newly launched site gives a brief rendition of what he has done during his first three-plus months in office, followed by a brief quote by a nationally acclaimed longtime established news source.
“President Donald J. Trump has done more to stop the government from interfering in the lives of Americans in his first 100 days than any other president in history,” the summary on DonaldTrump.com reads. “The Wall Street Journal editorial [stated]: ‘So far, the Trump administration is a welcome improvement – rolling back more regulations than any [resident in history.’”
This site was the topic of a recent television ad – an ad that was reportedly censored by ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN – and the mainstream media networks complained that the network anchors were referred to in the ad as “fake news,” according to WND, which stated that the censorship set “a chilling precedent against free speech rights” and also noted that CNN was the first network to censor the Trump campaign.
Michael Glassner, who is the executive director of Trump's re-election campaign, was vocal in his criticism of the Leftist news network concerning its censorship of Trump.
“By rejecting our ad, CNN has proven that it supports censorship, is biased and fears an opposing point of view,” Glassner insisted at the time, according to WND. “President Trump’s loyal supporters know the truth: The mainstream media mislead, misguide, deceive and distract. CNN epitomizes the meaning of fake news and has proven it by rejecting our paid campaign ad.”
Fake news and the revenge factor
An example of “fake news” targeting conservatives was recently brought up by WND Vice President David Kupelian, who addressed numerous legacy media outlet headlines that recently stated, “Sean Hannity once pulled a gun on Juan Williams.”
“In reality, what happened was that after the ‘Hannity’ show was over one evening last October, Hannity showed his longtime friend his unloaded gun on the set,” Kupelian explained in order to set the record straight and make his point about fake news. “As Williams himself tweeted … in response to all the hysterical ‘mainstream’ news coverage: ‘This incident is being sensationalized – everything was under total control throughout and I never felt like I was put in harm’s way.'”
To showcase how fake news sources love to make something out of nothing, Kupelian noted how CNN’s Dylan Byers introduced his “Sean threatened Juan” story in an attempt to portray Hannity as belligerent and out-of-control.
“Since Trump’s victory, Hannity has become downright conspiratorial,” Byers prefaced his scoop. “He has embraced the idea that there is a ‘deep state’ of federal officials working to undermine Trump from within government”
Kupelian then wrapped up his case against CNN.
“Sounds like it’s CNN, not Hannity, that has the problem with reckless behavior and not only threatening – but hurting – innocent people,” Kupelian concluded. “But that’s what happens when you’re really, really angry. And since its disgraceful performance during and since the 2016 presidential election season, CNN – along with other demoralized mainstream media outfits – is just really, really angry, and itching for revenge.”