Opinion by Kip Hansen – 15 July 2022
The latest NY Times/Sienna College poll shows that we are not alone. We, most the authors and readers here at WUWT, are in line with a large majority of Americans who believe that mainstream media organizations do not accurately and fairly report about news and politics.
This failed journalism also applies to their reporting about Climate Science, Climate Change and all other controversial science topics: Covid, monkeypox, health, space exploration and technology.
The New York Times fails to report about the poll results that find ubiquitous lack of trust in the media (and, yes, the NY Times is one of the media organizations that a majority-by-a-large-margin of the public does not trust). The results of the poll are somewhat more honestly reported, albeit below the fold, in the press release from Sienna College:
“By Two-to-One, Voters Have Little or No Confidence in the Accuracy or Fairness of Mainstream Media
Only 34% of voters say they are confident (6% very confident) in mainstream media organizations to accurately and fairly report about news and politics, while 65% are not too confident (23%) or not at all confident (42%).
“While Democrats are confident in mainstream media to accurately and fairly report the news, 59-40%, 68% of independents and a whopping 86% of Republicans have little or no confidence in the mainstream media,” Levy said. “While half of voters over 65 have confidence in mainstream media’s ability to report the news, only 22% of those under 30 have confidence.” [ source ]
Only 6% of voters (they did not survey children or non-voters) are very confident that Mainstream Media (MSM) reports honestly or fairly. And only 1/3rd of voters have any confidence at all in the media’s ability to report the news.
A whopping 65% lack confidence in the MSM – and justifiably so.
While both the question and the offered answers in this instance – media confidence — are straightforward and not obviously biased, but that is not always the case.
The reporting of poll support exposes that even Sienna College and the NY Times both twist and spin the poll results to match their progressive biases.
The Sienna College Press Release on the poll shows the bias of the college’s pollsters. Reporting selected results that match MSM headlines above the fold on their press release web page. For instance:
“Similarly, Democrats and independents overwhelmingly believe that Supreme Court decisions are based more on the justices’ political views rather than the constitution and law, while Republicans by a smaller 54-39% margin say decisions are based more on the constitution,” Levy said. “A majority of voters from every region, gender, age group, race and education level says that Court decisions are based more on political views.”
And why would the public believe this? Because the MSM tells them it is so over and over — labeling each Supreme Court justice by the political party of the president that appointed them, referring to some as the “six Republican justices”. If the MSM was been reporting honestly and without bias, they would report on the judicial views of the justices: conservative, originalist, literalist, judicial activist, progressive, etc. Instead of doing journalism, the American MSM (both sides of the conservative/progressive divide) politicize almost everything along two-party lines supporting one party over the other in alignment with the politics of their news outlet’s owners.
What does the MSM tell us are the most urgent problems of the world today? The problems that should guide our every thought and action? The most urgent problems that everyone is focusing on today? That every news story is or should be about, at least in part? What is every other headline screaming about? These topics appear above the fold in almost every newspaper (or televised news report) almost every day:
Corona Virus Pandemic
How do American voters see these issues? [ full poll questions and results pdf ]:
Q15. What do you think is the MOST important problem facing the country today?
The economy (including jobs, stock market) 20%
Inflation and the cost of living 15%
The state of Democracy/Political division 11%
Gun policies 10%
Abortion/Women’s Rights 5%
Climate Change 1%
Supreme Court 1%
As in all sorts of polls and questionnaires, it is just as important to know the questions and the choices of answer offered as it is to know the results. For instance, in the Supreme Court question “judicial view” was not a choice, only “Constitution and Law” or “Political views of justices” which the MSM then translates/twists into “political party” of the justices: a twisted and spun version of the already biased question/answers pair.
The irony of this situation is that not only don’t/can’t we trust the mainstream media to report honestly and fairly, we can’t trust the pollsters that have found out that we don’t trust the MSM either. The pollsters too have biases and political agendas of their own.
1. If you don’t trust the Mainstream Media to tell the truth you are in the majority and, contrary to what you are generally being told by those mainstream media outlets, you are not minority outliers. In my opinion, you are perfectly justified in that belief.
2. If you see poll numbers, always (as in every single time) search out the exact questions asked and the exact answers offered the poll-takers. Never ever (as in not one single time) accept a news report about a poll at face value. Journalists [sic] seldom follow this rule and thus misreport results according to their outlet’s Editorial Narrative (see here and here).
3. The mainstream media is the most prolific source of mis- and dis-information in the United States. In the U.S., this is often intentional, as most MSM outlets are propaganda machines marching to orders from their owners (and those who own those owners). This is probably even more true in other countries.
Read More – Read Widely – Read Critically
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Author’s Comment: (Warning: this turns out to be longer than the main essay).
And Question Everything (including this essay)!
Psychological Reactance is a positive quality that helps people avoid being influenced by propaganda. [ source: Brehm J. W. (1966). A theory of psychological reactance.] Various psychologists view it as something to be overcome, as was claimed in the paper discussed recently here at WUWT: “Claim: Republicans Need to See Evidence of Climate Change Harms”. But, I believe it is A Feature; Not a Bug.
It is my hope that the resistance to acceptance of the MSM reports and the lack of confidence in the MSM as reliable news sources is based on a rising sense of the unreality of most MSM reports about almost everything.
Commenters can leave examples of things claimed in MSM headlines that could only be believed by people living in a fantasy world.
Unfortunately, the NYT/Sienna poll shows that propaganda-by-repetition works in the real world – see the portion of their report on the Jan 6 riot, which reports that “By Small Margins: Capitol Riots were Attempt to Overthrow Govt. & Trump Committed Serious Crimes”. The Progressive MSM repeats this endlessly and televises one-sided political theater (Congressional Hearings) to reinforce this Big Lie.
Big Lie? Yes and apparently the lie was made-up by people who have never actually witnessed or been present at a real armed coup or attempted governmental overthrow.
I have been in-country for two attempts to overthrow a national government (one successful, one failure). In one case, I watched the rebel commanders gathered around a table with their maps directing troops via walkie-talkie. Luckily, I was an invited guest and was watching the winning side – and despite a couple dicey moments, lived to tell the tale.
In the other, the ship I was working on had a vague connection with the coup leaders and we had to slip our moorings during the midnight watch and slip out of port on the tide with all lights blacked-out until we were twenty miles off-shore. My wife was ashore at the time, and had to evacuate herself by chicken-bus and illegal ferry.
My advice, do not be in a country when there is a real coup or real rebellion. Hint: It will not look like a street protest that has run away with itself and people won’t be wearing funny costumes.
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