President Donald Trump’s war with the mainstream media has shown no signs of tempering, with the commander-in-chief frequently lashing out at the press for what he says is unfair coverage.
Most recently, Trump floated the idea of challenging NBC and other networks’ licenses, tweeting, “With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!”
With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2017
Brushing aside the fact that networks aren’t licensed by the FCC (only individual stations are), it appears Trump’s almost incessant claims about the press making up fake stories have had an impact on the public’s perception of the media.
According to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, nearly half of U.S. voters — 46 percent — believe that the media fabricate stories about Trump and his administration, POLITICO reported.
That percentage far outpaces the 37 percent who do not believe that the news media make up stories, with a stunning large cohort — 17 percent — remaining uncertain about what they believe on the matter.
The partisan divide is also quite striking, with 76 percent of Republicans, 44 percent of Independents and just around 20 percent of Democrats saying that they believe stories are fabricated. Read more about the data here.
It’s pretty shocking to consider that nearly half of voters believe the media are manufacturing stories on Trump, as the data paints a picture of the impact of the president’s attacks on the press — and the media’s perceived assault on the president.
The poll caught Trump’s attention on Wednesday night, as he tweeted the 46 percent stat and said that the problem “is actually much worse than this.”
"46% of Americans think the Media is inventing stories about Trump & his Administration." @FoxNews It is actually much worse than this!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2017
As Faithwire previously reported, a separate poll released earlier this year also showed the profound impact that political debate and dysfunction are having on Americans’ trust in media.
The Pew Research Center analysis found that Democrats and Republicans “now disagree more than ever” on “the news media’s role in society.” Traditionally, the media have collectively been viewed as the “Fourth Estate” — a press body that is meant to hold public officials accountable.
According to a scientific, online poll conducted from March 12-27, 2017, 89 percent of Democrats said that media criticism keeps political leaders in line. That’s an assessment that comports with the traditional understanding of the medias’ role in society.
The proportion among Republicans came in shockingly low at just 42 percent, yielding a 47-percentage-point gap between individuals in the two parties, according to Pew.
Here’s why this matters: these proportions have dramatically shifted over the past year amid almost ceaseless claims of liberal media bias that have surely impacted conservatives’ views of the press. When the same question was asked in February 2016, 74 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of Republicans supported the idea that the media are essentially a watchdog.
Another Pew Research Center poll recently found that the majority of Americans — 73 percent — believe that the tensions between Trump and the press are “getting in the way of access to important national political news and information,” with 72 percent of Democrats, 73 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of Independents all agreeing.
It should be noted that Trump is likely helped along in his battle with the media, as polls have long shown public disdain and distrust for the press; media bias is hardly a new complaint, especially among conservatives.