Pew Research Center: Republicans Have Very Little Confidence in Trump Media Coverage

Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson recently reported on the news media and the conclusions she draws is that many Republicans have absolutely no faith in the US media.

The report comes from a survey by Pew Research Center.

Attkisson said that deep party divides have been exposed when it comes to covering President Donald Trump, especially when it comes to the allegations of Russian collusion.

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“Russia hysteria or top-notch reporting?” Attkisson asked.  “Coverage of candidate and President Donald Trump has pumped up deep party divides when it comes to attitudes about the news media.”

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“In 2017, we decided to re-ask a number of questions on American’s media attitudes, that we already had asked in 2016,” said Katerina Matsa, senior researcher at Pew Research Center.

Matsa was asked what she learned from the survey in the early days of the Trump Administration about how Americans feel about criticism of political leaders from the news media.  Was it productive or not productive?

“That was one of the widest gaps that we saw between Republicans and Democrats,” Matsa said.  “Historically, Republicans are more likely to see media criticism as a positive thing if there’s a Democrat in the White House and vice versa. But today’s divide is the largest, by far, in the 32 years that Pew has been asking the question.”

“Nearly 90% of Democrats say news media criticism serves to keep leaders in line,” she added.  “But less than half of Republicans say the same.  That was a 47 percent point gap between Republicans and Democrats on that question.”

According to Matsa, the change since 2016 is “a big difference.”

“In early 2016, in the middle of presidential primary season, Democrats and Republicans saw eye to eye on this particular question,” she told Attkisson.  “At that time, support for the media’s watchdog role was about the same among Democrats and Republicans.  Before now, the biggest gap was under President George W. Bush when Democrats were 28 points more likely than Republicans to appreciate the media as watchdog.”

“Pew also measured “interest” in national news and found an increase; 33 percent a year ago said they closely followed national news, that’s now up to 40%, but the increase is due almost entirely to Democrats,” Matsa continued.  “Their level of interest jumped from 33% to 49%.”

Attkisson also asked Matsa about people being split when it comes to perceived media fairness.

“What we found was that Republicans are actually more likely than Democrats to say that news organizations tend to favor one side,” Matsa explained.  “87% of Republicans said news organizations tend to favor one side. Only about half of Democrats said so.”

“That’s the widest gap between the two parties since the George W. Bush administration in 2007,” she added.

“Another partisan divide is evident when it comes to ‘trust’ in national news organizations,” Matsa continued.  “Thrity-four percent of Democrats trust the national news, more than triple the percentage of Republicans; again a much larger gap than a year ago.

Finally, the two discussed social media.  While many Americans turn to social media for news, a very small percentage actually trust it to provide accurate news.

According to Matsa, just five percent of Americans trust or rely on social media for accurate news.

“Granted the information that Americans get on social media is friends and family, so it’s good to take that into consideration,” she said.

Yes, well, and people are going to actually show their bias as well.  However, this is something that we all have, including any news media out there, whether they are mainstream or alternative.  Everyone has a bias.  The question really is about what is true or not regardless of the bias.  Sadly, much of social media is simply riddled with meme fabrications of quotes and news.

I’m not surprised though that many believe Democrats are more strongly supported in the media than are Republicans, but still the issue is not so much with party as it is ideology.  And nowadays, when it comes to actions, it’s getting harder to tell the difference between the two parties in many ways.

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