Just when you thought trust in the activist media couldn’t sink any lower, Gallup released a new survey showing that America’s confidence in the press has slid further into the abyss. Apparently, the media’s bias continues to haunt the once-vaunted Fourth Estate. Will any of the major outlets realize they are sleepwalking toward an ignoble end?
Not Many Trust the Activist Media
Gallup’s poll showed that Americans have lost confidence in most of the country’s major institutions. People no longer trust critical components of the nation’s civic infrastructure – such as Congress, the presidency, the criminal justice system, and others. But the findings related to print and television reportage, in particular, were instructive.
Americans’ trust in newspapers fell from 21% to 16% between 2020 and 2021, while confidence in television news dropped from a paltry 16% to a dismal 11%. Among Republicans, the numbers went from 8% to 5% regarding newspapers; for Independents, from 19% to 12%; for Democrats, 38% to 35%. When it comes to television news, Republicans saw a slight increase from 6% to 8%; Independents showed a decline of 13% to 9%; and among Democrats the figure dropped from 26% to 20%.
Americans’ trust in media began a swift decline when Donald Trump came onto the scene during the 2016 presidential campaign. While the press displayed an obvious bias in favor of Democrats, it still attempted to maintain an air of objectivity. But when Trump Derangement Syndrome set in, these supposed journalists removed their masks and began acting as the resistance to a man they viewed to be a dictator in the making. Since then, the media has only become more brazen in its advocacy for the leftist agenda.
Pew Research Center conducted a study in the early days of President Joe Biden’s stint in the White House, reporting:
“Overall, 65% of the stories were framed around the new president’s policy agenda and ideology, compared with 35% around character and leadership. And in each of the three main media groupings studied, at least 59% of the stories were oriented around policy and agenda.
“That framing is dramatically different from the coverage of the first few months of the Trump administration four years earlier. Then, 74% of all stories were oriented around his character and leadership, compared with only about one-quarter (26%) framed around his ideology and policy agenda. Another significant difference in their coverage is that while the negative Biden stories modestly outnumbered the positive ones, negative stories about Trump exceeded positive ones by four-to-one.”
During the 2020 election cycle, the activist media worked hard to make sure Biden won the presidency. One of the more egregious examples was the press’ handling of the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, which it did its level best to cover up.
A Media Research Center report found that between Oct. 14, 2020, the day the New York Post broke the story, and April 18, 2022, the total amount of time that ABC, CBS, and NBC spent covering the laptop amounted to a measly 25 minutes and six seconds. That is less than a half-hour over an 18-month period. Even when they did discuss the story, they described it as “dubious,” “questionably-sourced,” and “unverified.” Some even promoted the narrative that it was Russian disinformation.
The bias can be seen in how media activists handled instances of political violence. They made sure their viewers understood that the riots after the murder of George Floyd were “mostly peaceful” but did no such thing when it came to the riot at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Indeed, they still go to extreme lengths to demonize those who participated in the pro-Trump event.
Even now, news outlets downplay pro-abortion violence in response to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. From the Media Research Center:
“So how did the networks respond? On CBS Morning and the CBS Evening News, journalists mentioned attacks against pro-lifers for 26 seconds. On the Today show and NBC Nightly News, the coverage amounted to an additional 26 seconds. ABC’s Good Morning America and World News Tonight allowed 68 seconds. In total, this was a scant 120 seconds devoted to the violence and intimidation across the country.”
These outlets also used the “mostly peaceful” tropes to describe violent demonstrations in favor of abortion.
Activist media networks show little sign of budging, despite the fact that their ratings are suffering. It appears the mission is more important than profit and trust. Perhaps this is why alternative media has become more powerful. As people continue losing faith in print and television news, they are turning to digital sources to keep themselves informed. If establishment media do not reverse course, they might just propagandize themselves into irrelevancy.