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Media Trust Hits New Lows Due To Selective Coverage And Bias

Surprise! Even Democrats and liberals are losing trust in the media as it is compelled to cover news unfavorable to them.

Key Findings

  • The TIPP Media Trust Index hits a historic low
  • Two-thirds don’t have any confidence in the American media
  • Surprisingly, liberals are losing trust in the media

Here's a case study for the Journalism 101 course. Watch this segment from a recent CNN show:


Jake Tapper admits Trump was right.

Take note of the following subtleties:

It was a big revelation for CNN’s Jake Tapper that Hunter Biden received significant sums of money from countries like China and Ukraine.

While Tapper presents it to his audience as a groundbreaking discovery, it's old news; it was officially stated in court filings in the Hunter Biden Delaware plea deal and has been known since the day Hunter Biden appeared in a Delaware court on July 26*.

Sadly, Tapper is inordinately late to the game on August 19 - 25* days, to be precise. Finally, grudgingly, he admits that Trump was right.

Further, note that he lacks the confidence to report the story as it is.

Tapper relies on Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler to believe it is true. What an irony! Doesn’t Tapper have a research team that can access the plea agreement to ascertain that Hunter received Chinese money without relying on Kessler? Or is Tapper aligning with the Washington Post to soften the blow as the bearer of the bad news?

FYI: This is the same Tapper who often righteously asserts Trump’s 2020 claim as the “big lie” as though he knows the truth. Remember, Trump lost under 50,000 votes in five states, and even a recent CNN poll shows that 69% of Republicans have doubts.

The media excels at the art of omission. Americans are deliberately kept in the dark about stories that are not beneficial to the Democratic party. Let's examine the following data concerning Americans' awareness of a few stories:

  • A recent Poll revealed that merely 38% of Americans are following the Devon Archer testimony story, while 58% are not.
  • In August of last year, nearly two years after the election, a TIPP Poll indicated that only 32% of Americans followed the Hunter Biden laptop story.

With selective reporting, the media has managed to divide the nation into two worlds. Americans who live in one world don’t know what is happening in the other world. The media’s actions come with serious consequences. Here are two examples.

The leftist media played a consequential role in the 2020 election by not covering the Hunter Biden laptop story. Recall NPR managing editor Terence Samuel, who said then: 

We don't want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don't want to waste the listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distractions. And quite frankly, that's where we ended up, this was … a politically driven event and we decided to treat it that way.

The second example is related to the Russia-Ukraine war, where nearly half a million people have died. As John Mearsheimer, Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, commented on the one-sided war rhetoric in Western capitals:

That people like me have sort of kept out of the mainstream media is quite remarkable. We have conventional wisdom in Washington, and the mainstream media is committed to policing the marketplace of ideas to ensure that people who disagree with that conventional wisdom are not heard, or if they are heard, their arguments are perverted or countered immediately.

Americans’ Distrust Of The Media

Most Americans don’t trust the media. In a TIPP Poll of 1,359 Americans completed in early August, nearly two-thirds (65%) had no confidence in the traditional media. While 37% had little trust, 28% said no trust at all.

Only three in ten (31%) trust the media, with 9% having a lot of trust and another 22% having quite a bit of trust.

Democrats mostly run the media, which leads to the media pushing narratives beneficial to the party and appealing to Democrats. As the media is forced to cover Biden scandals (Jake Tapper, for example), there are indications that even liberals are losing trust in the media. Surprisingly, this month most liberals (54%) don’t trust the media. Further, among Democrats (48%), the share of those who trust the media does not exceed half.

A whopping share of Republicans (81%) and conservatives (73%) lack trust in the fourth estate. Independents (73%) and moderates (66%) also place little trust in the media.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans don't trust the media, including 54% of liberals.

The TIPP Poll asks the media trust question monthly and converts the responses to a compact index number to facilitate ongoing tracking. The index ranges from 0 to 100. 50 is neutral, above 50 is positive, and below 50 is negative zone.

The chart below plots the traditional media index from March 2021, when we began tracking trust in the media, two months after President Biden was sworn into office. The overall trust index has stayed in the negative zone, below 50, for 29 of the 30 months except March 2021, when it posted 51.1, barely above 50.

Democrats have stayed above 50 for the entire 30 months period. Republicans stayed in the 20 to 30 range most of the period. Independents polled slightly better in the 25 to 35 range.

TIPP Media Trust Index hits a new low as the media is compelled to cover news unfavorable to Democrats and liberals

Our findings are consistent with research released by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. The Reuters study included 15 media brands. Respondents rated the brands on a 10-point scale from 0 to 10, where 0 is not at all trustworthy and ten is completely trustworthy. Those giving 5-10 were deemed to trust. Even with this lenient criterion, only one out of the 15 brands received a trust rating of 50%.

American media is a living example of the saying: 'Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly but expecting different results.' The media knows Americans don’t trust them, yet it never changes its behavior to earn their trust. Further, the media catalyzes division and fuels strife within the country. We can't blame some Americans for labeling them as 'Fake news,' a well-deserved title.

(*) The original story incorrectly stated the date as June 26.

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