A recent nationwide survey divulged that more than six out of 10 of American adults believe there is partisan bias in the news media – a percentage that increased by double-digits over the past decade.
“Sixty-two percent of U.S. adults say the media has a favorite – up from about 50 percent in past years,” the latest Gallup poll reported on Wednesday. “Just 27 percent now say the media favors neither major party.”
The last time Gallup surveyed Americans on this issue was back in February 2003, when just as many respondents thought the news media favored a particular party over the other – a common trend that was witnessed at the turn of the century and several years before that.
“Americans were … evenly split when the question was first asked in April 1995,” Gallup informed. “In December 2000 – in the midst of the election results recount between George W. Bush and Al Gore – slightly more Americans perceived partisan bias in the news media (51 percent) than believed the news media was politically neutral (41 percent).
Not Right, but to the Left …
When it comes down to it, a much greater percentage of Americans ascribe to the belief that the mainstream news media overwhelmingly spins its coverage to favor the Democratic Party -- while negatively reporting on Republicans.
More than Democrats, Republicans have been contending -- for more than a decade – that partisan media bias exists.
“Currently, 77 percent of Republicans say the media favors one party over the other; in 2003, 59 percent of Republicans said the same,” researchers noted. “By comparison, 44 percent of Democrats now say the media plays favorites – unchanged from the 44 percent who said so in 2003.”
Looking at all Americans – regardless of their political persuasion – Gallup found that most believe that the Democratic Party is significantly favored by the new media.
“Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of those who believe the media favors a political party say it is the Democratic Party,” the statisticians disclosed. “Only about a third as many (22 percent) believe the media favors Republicans.”
The trend of Americans witnessing media bias toward the Democrats has been seen for decades, as Gallup revealed in 2003 and 1995. During those years, the gap was smaller than it is today. The consensus on the current take on the issue today more closely resembles what Americans thought about Left-leaning news coverage back in 2000 – when the younger Bush was voted president.
By far, those supporting the Republican Party are the ones primarily responsible for pushing the assertion that Democrats are the party of choice for the news media.
“Perhaps not surprisingly, Republicans are fueling the belief that the news media favors Democrats: 88 percent of Republicans who believe the media is biased say this,” Gallup researchers indicated. “Democrats are split in their views, with 43 percent naming Democrats as the recipients of that bias and 40 percent saying the bias is toward Republicans.”
They’ve got it all wrong …
Besides believing that the news media is biased, Americans look at virtually everything it reports on politics with a grain of salt.
Townhall – one of a handful of media outlets that reports its news from a conservative standpoint that often favors the Republican Party – notes that findings indicate that more than half of all American adults believe the news media is “often inaccurate” when reporting on political matters.
“The majority of those surveyed also thought that news organizations often get the facts wrong,” Townhall announced.
In fact, nearly 20 percent more Americans believe that reporters get it all wrong when informing America about political dealing – than those who think they have are reporting the facts.
“Fifty-five percent of U.S. adults say that news organizations' stories and reports are ‘often inaccurate,’" those conducting the survey relayed. “In contrast, 36 percent say news organizations generally get the facts straight.”
Since the beginning of the new millennium, an overwhelming majority of Americans have registered a lack of confidence in the accuracy of press coverage.
“In December 2000, when another controversial election made headlines, 65 percent said the media was often inaccurate,” Gallup recounted. “But at several other points before 2000, Americans were either more likely to say the media got the facts straight or closely divided in their opinions on the matter.”
More than a decade-and-a-half later, Americans’ trust in the media is no better. In fact, it is even worse.
“A separate poll conducted in September 2016 mirrors the latest results showing views of the news media as often inaccurate, with 32 percent of Americans reporting a ‘great deal’ or ‘fair amount’ of trust in the news media to report the news fairly and accurately,” Gallup revealed from a poll taken two months before last year’s presidential election.
Lopsided election coverage
Perhaps the biggest factor in the escalation in American’s skepticism of the media was the handling of the 2016 presidential election, which saw now-President Donald Trump rely on his Twitter social media account – and not the news media – to relay his unadulterated message to the American public.
“Throughout the election cycle, Donald Trump and his supporters were derided for claiming that the mainstream media was ‘rigged’ against the Republican candidate in favor of his opponent,” political commentators Raghavan Mayur and Tom Westervelt asserted on Investors.com weeks after the election. “But given the way Election Day unfolded, with Trump pulling off an upset victory despite being written off by much of the media, the allegations of media bias may not have been so far-fetched.”
The analysts brought up numerous accounts of the media’s subjective and biased coverage slanted against Trump and his presidential campaign. One instance occurs in an editor’s note with links to articles provided by the Left-leaning Huffington Post, which resorted to name-calling in an attack against the Republican candidate -- in an overt attempt to put his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, in office.
“Editor's note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S,” the Huffington Post inserted at the end of one of its numerous anti-Trump articles.
Not only resorting or negative spins and name-calling, the news media also reportedly used misleading polls to disillusion potential voters from showing up to the ballot box for an election that was supposedly already won by Clinton. Outlet after outlet contended that she had a comfortable lead over Trump – the Republican nominee frequently portrayed as a long shot for the presidency. How the presidential polls were skewed was questionable – at best.
“Heading into the day of the vote, most news outlets were confident that Clinton would become the 45th president of the United States, as they pointed to poll after poll showing the former secretary of state comfortably leading Trump,” Mayur and Westervelt explained. “This coverage seemed to impact voters' sentiment regarding whom they expected to win the presidency.”
The commentators’ site reflected the great influence that the polls had on Americans’ outlook on the outcome of the 2016 election, but the pervasive anti-Trump slant could not dissuade Trump voters from showing up at the ballot box.
“In the final installment of our daily IBD/TIPP Presidential Election Tracking Poll, released on the day of the election, nearly half of likely voters (46 percent) felt that Clinton would win the presidency, while only 24 percent reported that Trump would likely become president,” the political analysts recounted. “Yet the media's negative coverage could not stifle Trump's supporters. As predicted in our final poll, which showed the Republican nominee with a 1.6-point lead over his rival, Trump stunned the media establishment and easily won the presidency.”
Both before and after the presidential election, Trump’s allegation of the media generating “fake news” appears to have resonated with the general public, as Gallup’s findings indicate that more American today believe that the media supports one political party over the other than at any other time over the past two decades.