A new survey indicates millions of Republicans over the last year have lost faith in the news media as government watchdogs on behalf of America.
The poll by the Pew Research Center followed a contentious presidential election season in which media openly cheered for the now-twice failed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and routinely disparaged then-GOP nominee Donald Trump.
And the Pew result followed by only a day the Trump campaign’s unveiling of a new website designed to get news to American voters without interference from media.
The site aims to present “facts the mainstream media is hiding about policy positions and actions by President Trump; compelling, never-before-seen photos from recent campaign rallies and events featuring President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence; news announcements from Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; and other materials that you won’t find anywhere else in the media.”
Pew, noting Democrats “are 47 points more likely than Republicans to support news media’s watchdog role,” said there never before has been such a wide division.
“Roughly nine-in-ten Democrats (89 percent) say news media criticism keeps leaders in line (sometimes called the news media’s ‘watchdog role’), while only about four-in-ten Republicans (42 percent) say the same,” Pew reported.
“That is a 47-percentage-point gap.”
The results come from a March 13-27 poll conducted among 4,151 U.S. adults in the group’s American Trends Panel.
Only a year earlier, when asked the same questions, 74 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of Republicans supported the watchdog role.
“Pew Research Center has asked this question since 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. 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,” Pew said.
“It should be noted that prior to 2016, the question was asked by telephone rather than the web, which can elicit slightly different response patterns. Even taking possible mode effects into account, though, this year’s difference is so stark that it would still be the largest gap in the center’s polling on this question.”
Pew also noted there were differences between the parties in the responses to other questions as well.
“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,” the report said.
The Democrats showed more support for establishment media in all of their responses.
Regarding whether news organizations tend to favor one side, 87 percent of Republicans said yes, while only 53 percent of Democrats took that position. Regarding when national news organizations are trustworthy, 34 percent of Democrats said yes, but only 11 percent of Republicans. And regarding how well informed Americans are because of the media, 33 percent of Democrats said very well, while only 18 percent of Republicans said very well.
Trump’s new website includes a recounting of the president’s accomplishments in his first 100 days, which was the subject of a television ad that in recent days was censored by ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN.
The networks complained about the ad’s reference to network anchors as “fake news.”
WND reported the censorship set “a chilling precedent against free speech rights.”
Lara Trump, the wife of Eric Trump and daughter-in-law of President Trump, a consultant for the campaign Donald J. Trump for President Inc., said at the time: “Apparently, the mainstream media are champions of the First Amendment only when it serves their own political views. Faced with an ad that doesn’t fit their biased narrative, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC have now all chosen to block our ad. This is an unprecedented act of censorship in America that should concern every freedom-loving citizen.”
WND reported when CNN was the first to censor Trump’s campaign.
Glassner said then, “By rejecting our ad, CNN has proven that it supports censorship, is biased and fears an opposing point of view.
“President Trump’s loyal supporters know the truth: The mainstream media mislead, misguide, deceive, and distract,” Glassner continued. “CNN epitomizes the meaning of fake news and has proven it by rejecting our paid campaign ad.”
The network objected to a brief screen display of the images of multiple network anchors with the word “Fake” across the image. CNN insists the “mainstream media is not fake news.”
See the ad:
The new Pew results could be a reflection of the whole issue of “fake news,” what it is and who is guilty of that activity, a fight that divided not just the media in the country, but the country itself in many ways.
For example, WND reported when a blogger charged that the Associated Press was “conducting a daily war against President Trump and his administration.”
“This war is waged through biased news stories, which are legion, and through the AP’s purported ‘fact checks,'” the report said.
WND’s vice president, David Kupelian, recently noted what appears to be “fake news.”
Citing multiple legacy media outlet headlines about “Sean Hannity once pulled a gun on Juan Williams,” he wrote, “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. As Williams himself tweeted tonight, 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.'”
Yet, Kupelian pointed out, CNN’s Dylan Byers prefaces his “Sean threatened Juan” scoop with the following observations, as if to demonstrate the suspect’s deranged state of mind:
“Since Trump’s victory, Hannity has become downright conspiratorial. … He has embraced the idea that there is a ‘deep state’ of federal officials working to undermine Trump from within government.”
Kupelian said, “Sounds like it’s CNN, not Hannity, that has the problem with reckless behavior and not only threatening – but hurting – innocent people. 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.”