Well, here we are again with another glimpse of how American’s view the Fourth Estate. And it’s not a pretty picture. A new Gallup poll out this week suggests the idea of an impartial media is plummeting all the way down into the sewer for U.S. citizens. A monstrous 62% say they believe the media is partisan in their news reporting.
It seems the American public isn’t as dimwitted as the left-wing press thinks it is after all. Only 27% of those polled say the media is fair and balanced. And it all happened in just over a decade. In February of 2003, some 48% of Americans believed there was media bias with another 46% saying the media called things right down the middle.
Now for the down and dirty stats: 64% of those polled thought the media backed the Democratic Party. Ya think? Only 22% thought the GOP was preferred by the establishment broadcast and newspaper outlets.
But wait – there’s more! According to Townhall, “The majority of those surveyed also thought that news organizations often get the facts wrong.” Gallup also reported that 55% of those polled believe news organizations often report inaccurately while only 36% said they get the story right.
Ouch. Talk about damning the media to hell and back. Considering most of these mainstream outlets are tone deaf and live in their own little world, it seems unlikely they’ll get the message anytime soon. It seems most of the Fourth Estate doesn’t give a you-know-what about what the average American thinks. And that’s too bad because until and unless they realize they are heading down the wrong bunny trail they are unlikely to see the error of their ways.
Somehow the media today sees themselves as above it all. There is an unctuousness and pomposity to their every report as if they are smarter than the average American. Until they realize it wasn’t the Russians – but all those little people in fly-over country – that elected Donald Trump as our 45th President they are doomed to repeat their flagrant violation of their creed as non-partisan arbiters of the news.
A creed you say? What creed?
Journalists wouldn’t have to go far to see what they are called to do as members of the media. Their code of ethics is written for all to see – written in bronze, in fact – at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. It was written by Walter Williams in 1908 and reads:
I believe in the profession of Journalism.
I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of responsibility, trustees for the public; that all acceptance of lesser service than the public service is a betrayal of this trust.
I believe that clear thinking, clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.
I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true.
I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.
I believe that no one should write as a journalist what he would not say as a gentleman; that bribery by one’s own pocket book is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another’s instructions or another’s dividends.
I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.
I believe that the journalism which succeeds the best-and best deserves success-fears God and honors man; is stoutly independent; unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power; constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid, is quickly indignant at injustice; is unswayed by the appeal of the privilege or the clamor of the mob; seeks to give every man a chance, and as far as law, an honest wage and recognition of human brotherhood can make it so, an equal chance; is profoundly patriotic while sincerely promoting international good will and cementing world-comradeship, is a journalism of humanity, of and for today’s world.
Today’s press would do well to think about and read this code of ethics written by one of their own more than a century ago. Perhaps it would make them realize just how far they’ve wandered from the true and proper tenets of their profession.
A widely published columnist, Leesa previously worked in the broadcast news industry as a television news anchor, reporter, and producer at NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates in Charlotte, Pittsburgh, and Washington, DC.She is the author of "Free At Last: A Life-Changing Journey through the Gospel of Luke."