The rise of Donald Trump gave rise to another media phenomenon: The ubiquitous media “fact-checker,” employed to come out of the woodwork anytime Trump or another Republican says something that cuts against the liberal narrative. While these fact-checkers occasionally find it within themselves to “check” something particularly egregious said by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or Bernie Sanders, they devote the majority of their time to supposedly debunking conservatives.
This, says the Pew Research Center, has not gone unnoticed by most Republican voters. According to a new poll, the vast majority of registered Republicans do not have any trust in the independence of these fact-checkers.
“As fact-checking organizations are increasingly being tapped to fight against misinformation, Republicans appear to have serious concerns about the fairness of these groups,” reports Pew. “Democrats, on the other hand, mostly think they are fair to all sides.”
Funny how that works.
A full 70% of Republicans believe that fact-checkers go out of their way to provide cover for the left while only 29% of Democrats believe these sites come to the table with bias. 69% of Democrats believe fact-checkers are fair to all political ideologies.
Even so, the fact-checkers are doing better than the larger mainstream media in terms of their reputation for honesty.
“Roughly seven-in-ten Americans (72%) say news organizations tend to favor one side when covering political and social issues – notably higher than the half who say the same about fact-checkers,” reports Pew. On the Republican side, that translates to 89% of people who say the media is biased. Strangely enough, even 57% of Democrats believe the same thing. We’d like to imagine that they aren’t idiotic enough to think the media favors conservatives, but, well…
In any event, the perception of fact-checkers and the larger media as being biased against Trump and the Republican Party isn’t going away anytime soon. Mostly because the media, instead of trying to rein in their bias, has leaned into it since Trump took office. That’s where the clickbait lies. That’s where the ratings can be found. People want to tune in, get their dose of outrage against the BAD ORANGE MAN, and tune out again. And from NBC to the Washington Post to PolitiFact, they have a neverending supply of their drug.
Not sure what these institutions are going to do with themselves once Trump is out of office, but that’s a problem we’ll leave them to figure out.