According to a new survey from Hill-Harris X, more Americans than ever are skeptical not just of the news that comes out of the mainstream media but the motives of those deciding what to report and what not to. The poll found that one-third of Americans now view the news media as the “enemy of the people,” President Trump’s oft-cited phrase to describe fake news organizations that print nothing but lies about his administration.
From The Hill:
The poll, released Monday, found that the sentiment is strongest among Republican voters. According to the survey, 51 percent of Republicans polled said they thought of the press as “the enemy of the people” compared with 14 percent of Democrats and 35 percent of independents who said the same.
A majority of all respondents overall signaled support for the press, with 67 percent saying that the “news media is an important part of a democracy.”
Among those surveyed, respondents were most closely divided on the issue in rural areas. Forty-six percent of rural Americans said they believed the news media to be the “enemy of the people,” compared with 54 percent of those who said the news media is a crucial part of democracy.
The survey comes as American news media grapples with maintaining the public’s trust. According to Gallup, trust in the news media is the highest it has been since 2009, but still remains levels last seen in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
We would feel some measure of sympathy for the nation’s newsgatherers if they weren’t still committed to this biased, in-the-tank method of reporting. Just this week, the Trump administration had to come out and correct a story in The New York Times that baselessly and – as far as we can tell – sourcelessly reported that the U.S. would settle for a nuclear “freeze” with North Korea. It was a transparent attempt to steal Trump’s thunder on the same day he took those historic steps across the DMZ, and it was shameful. Put that together with the reckless reporting about the border, the Census, Ivanka, and anything else you can imagine, and it’s just too much.
There are still respectable news agencies out there doing good work, but they are certainly not represented in the pages of The New York Times, the Washington Post, or on cable news channels like CNN. These outlets have been digging their own reputational grave for a long time, and they’ve been doing it with bulldozers since Trump came on the scene. If they wanted to restore those reputations, they would have done so by now. Instead, they’ve only doubled down.