Poynter, which self-describes itself as “a global leader in journalism,” recently released a survey showing a wide partisan divide in trust in the media and whether the media creates fake news to attack Trump.

Not surprisingly, Democrats love, love, love and trust the media. Of course they do, the media is on their side. By contrast, Republicans understandably view the media with grave suspicion, because the media serves as lead attack dog against Trump.

Poynter called this a “wake up call”:

Yet Poynter doesn’t see that, er, point, arguing that Republicans and those who distrust the media just don’t understand. And Poynter puts the blame on Trump’s “fake news” attacks on media. But those attacks would not work if there weren’t so many times that the major news organizations created viral news that turned out to be false.

By way of example, earlier this month CNN’s Big Scoop on Don Jr. – Wikileaks Email Collapsed In Real Time.

The NY Times was not happy about this not because the story was wrong, but because it fed Trump’s “fake news” narrative:

It was also yet another prominent reporting error at a time when news organizations are confronting a skeptical public, and a president who delights in attacking the media as “fake news.”

Last Saturday, ABC News suspended a star reporter, Brian Ross, after an inaccurate report that Donald Trump had instructed Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser, to contact Russian officials during the presidential race.

The report fueled theories about coordination between the Trump campaign and a foreign power, and stocks dropped after the news. In fact, Mr. Trump’s instruction to Mr. Flynn came after he was president-elect.

Several news outlets, including Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal, also inaccurately reported this week that Deutsche Bank had received a subpoena from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, for President Trump’s financial records.

From the Poynter website summary article, Half of America thinks we’re making it up

Distrust of the news media didn’t start with Donald Trump, but he has amplified and stoked those doubts like no American president before him. Trump is also not the first politician to discredit any negative reporting on him, but his effort to undermine a shared understanding of facts conveyed in fair, vetted reporting takes a page from the playbooks of authoritarians in China, Cuba, Russia and Venezuela.

Stop right there. This is exactly the type of media bias and hyperbole that turns people off. Poynter apparently doesn’t get that.

The article continues:

… While Democrats have gained confidence in the press this year, Republicans’ confidence continued to erode. Strikingly, Republicans who were most tuned into the news were the least likely to trust the mainstream press.

The Poynter Media Trust Survey found 49 percent of Americans surveyed say they trust the media to report the news “fully, accurately and fairly” — the highest uptick in confidence in the media since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. That overall number masks a deep divide: 74 percent of Democrats expressed confidence in reporting, compared with only 19 percent of Republicans. (Gallup has measured a long, steady decline in confidence in the media since 1976, and also saw an uptick from an all-time low of 32 percent trust in September 2016 to 41 percent confidence in September 2017).

Disturbingly, the Poynter survey found nearly half of Americans — 44 percent — believe the press invents negative stories about the president, including 74 percent of Republicans….

Poynter’s solution?

The finding should be a fire alarm for newsrooms; a widespread, fundamental misunderstanding among the public of what we do points to an urgent need to be more transparent about how and why we report news. Remedies to begin restoring audience trust include annotating stories and linking original documents and images to show how we know what we know, and publishing reports and videos taking the audience step-by-step through ethical standards, methods, sourcing and fact-checking.

I have a better idea. Stop making sh-t up. Stop turning your publications and media outlets into all anti-Trump all the time. We are not stupid. We know what the media is doing, and almost half the population is sick of it.

Here are some of the charts from the Poynter Survey showing the sharp partisan divide:



The conclusion to the Survey (as opposed to the website article) is pretty sensible – the press needs to stop taking sides:

Given these results, the challenge for media outlets is to avoid being drawn into alignment with either of the parties. The surge in Democratic support for the press and attacks on the media from the White House are creating an even more politicized media landscape. Under these circumstances, journalists’ role in creating a shared understanding of reality across the political divide is more important than ever.


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