According to a recent joint Gallup and Knight Foundation poll just about nobody trusts the news media these days.
I realize that this is hardly breaking news.
A lot of us figured out a long time ago that journalists had a political ax to grind – and it was a bias that usually went in just one direction. But these latest numbers are pretty bad.
Eighty-six percent of Americans say there is either a “fair amount” or “great deal” of political bias in news coverage. It's quite remarkable that nearly 9 out of every 10 Americans think journalists slant the news.
Seventy-one percent of Republicans have an unfavorable view of the news media, but only 22 percent of Democrats have an unfavorable view.
No surprise there. So few Democrats think journalists are biased because Democrats like the news they’re getting from mainstream sources. Why wouldn’t they? Liberal journalists give Democrats the kind of biased news they want.
Every day President Trump gets questions like, Do you feel responsible for the deaths of nearly 200,000 Americans? And Joe Biden gets questions like, Do you think President Trump is bad, very bad or extremely bad?
And when Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris as his running mate, the New York Times immediately labeled her as a “pragmatic moderate.”
The Times wasn’t alone. The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times described Harris as “centrist.”
On television, George Stephanopoulos said that, "Kamala Harris comes from the middle of the road, moderate wing of the Democratic party."
Maybe Kamala Harris is a moderate or a centrist as far as liberal journalists are concerned, but that’s not how a non-partisan group that tracks congressional legislation sees it.
An analysis by GovTrack.us concluded that in 2019 Kamala Harris was the “most liberal” of all 100 U.S. senators, based on the legislation she signed on to.
That means the group found her even more liberal than Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Yet major news media outlets were calling her “moderate” and “centrist.”
Then there’s the matter of Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s Reliable Sources show.
Every week it’s the same song and dance: Bash conservative media and bash Donald Trump.
Recently Stelter put conservative talk radio in his crosshairs. He played audio clips from Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro, and Michael Savage while the words “Vile Anti-Biden Rhetoric On Right-Wing Talk Radio” was shown on the screen.
The conservatives had been speculating about Joe Biden’s mental health and his fitness for office.
Then Stelter asked a guest, Errin Haines, the editor-at-large of the news site The 19th this question: “Errin, your view of this, when you see entire media companies essentially exist to tear down Joe Biden, is there an equivalent to that on the left, tearing down Trump?”
Errin Haines answered: “There really isn’t.”
Well, actually, there really is. It’s called CNN!
Cornell Law School professor and media critic William A. Jacobson told Fox News that Stelter’s commentary raises a serious question.
“Has Brian Stelter ever watched CNN, which demeans Trump around the clock as a racist, mentally unstable Putin puppet? Or any of the other major networks that spread Russia collusion conspiracy theories for years, and whose reporters go to White House press conferences for the sole purpose of trying to bait Trump into a reaction so they can get retweets on Twitter?”
Stelter called the verbal shots about Biden's mental health “mind-boggling,” “offensive” and “so hateful.”
But at the outset of the Trump presidency in 2017, the very same Brian Stelter asked these questions on his show: “Is the president of the United States a racist? Is he suffering from some kind of illness? Is he fit for office? And if he is unfit, then what?”
I have long argued that while liberal journalists can spot a conservative a hundred miles away in a dense fog they’re oblivious when it comes to their own political biases. They don’t even think that their views are liberal. They believe they’re simply reasonable, moderate -- middle of the road.
When Jill Abramson, the former executive editor of the New York Times recently talked to Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner she made my point, claiming that “Most of the opinion columnists at the Times are centrists.”
Really? What New York Times could she possibly be talking about?
In reality, the opinion pages of the Times have become what Mark Finkelstein of the Media Research Center has called, a “raging pit of intolerant left-wing activism.”
When I wrote my first book Bias, about liberal bias in the news, critics said that bias is in the eye of the beholder -- meaning if you think journalists are biased that means that you’re the one who’s really biased.
This is what the mainstream journalists do: When they’re criticized they circle the wagons; they refuse to take the blame and instead they blame you.
So it’s no surprise that nearly 9 out of 10 Americans think journalists have a political bias. But there’s another problem that we should be worried about: They’re also clueless.