By Jeff Charles
As America’s political climate grows increasingly hostile, many have questioned the origin of the ever-deepening divide between people of differing political views. Along with this questioning has come rampant finger-pointing, with neither side being willing to take a modicum of responsibility.
The left has taken to blaming President Trump for everything that is wrong in our society — especially when it comes to the polarization the nation is experiencing. Indeed, the president’s harsh rhetoric often spawns a significant reaction from people on both the left and the right.
While many conservatives admit that Trump’s Twitter habit can be problematic, they do not perceive it as the main cause of the so-called great divide. Instead, they view the legacy media as the primary purveyor of incendiary rhetoric.
But what do most Americans think? A poll conducted by Morning Consult and Politico reveals some noteworthy truths related to the public’s view of both the president and the media.
Media More Divisive Than Trump
President Trump has continuously excoriated the press for its biased — and often inaccurate — reporting on his administration. According to the recent report, most Americans agree.
The poll showed that 64% of registered voters believe that the establishment media has contributed more to the polarization of the country than the president. On the other hand, 56% stated that Trump has done more to divide the nation than the media. It’s worth noting that the study was conducted in the midst of the mail bombings and the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
This view of the establishment media is shared by a significant number of Democrats and Republicans. Almost half of Democrats agreed that the news media has done more to divide the public than unite while 88% expressed the same view of Trump. Conversely, 80% of Republicans stated that the media is the cause of increasing division and 25% said the same of Trump.
Another interesting point of data was related to the confidence Americans had in the news media and the president. 28% of voters said they had “a lot” of confidence in President Trump while a mere 13% stated that they had confidence in the media.
Who Holds the Power?
One of the arguments that progressives have made after the mail bombings and synagogue shooting is that President Trump has more of an impact on public discourse than anyone on the left.
Unfortunately for the left, the public is not buying this argument. Yes, the president enjoys the power of the bully pulpit, and his words carry weight. But the influence of the Fourth Estate is nothing to sneeze at. Most of the establishment media outlets are dominated by progressives, possessing a platform by which they can disseminate their message to the American public, and any objective observer can see that they routinely use their power to promote progressivism.
While President Trump might post an incendiary tweet from time to time, the media pushes left-leaning message to the American people on a daily basis. They irresponsibly use their influence tools to paint the president and his supporters as vile bigots who seek to victimize anyone who is not a white Christian male.
Only four hours after Trump was elected, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was conjuring images of Hitler after the president’s speech. Unfortunately, Matthews is not the only media personality who casts Trump as the second coming of der Fuhrer. Recently, The New York Times published a piece featuring a fictional story depicting the assassination of President Trump. These examples represent only a minuscule fraction of the media’s attempts to push their anti-Trump, progressive agenda.
The Media Has The Power To Influence
By its very nature, the media has the ability to reach Americans in their living rooms, in airports, and through the internet. Therefore, it is easy to argue that they have more influence than one sitting president. Indeed, their penchant for attacking conservatives began decades ago, and it does not appear that they intend to stop anytime soon.
It may be the journalists who are blind to reality.
The press does not seem to grasp the fact that the majority of Americans can clearly see what they are doing. It seems that they do not even consider the idea that the average person is capable of identifying biased reporting when they see it. While they assume that they are pulling the wool over the eyes of the public, it may be the journalists who are blind to reality.
The fact that Americans can easily discern the motivation behind the media’s reporting explains why Trump still enjoys a relatively higher job approval rating even though almost 90% of the press’ reporting about the administration is negative. It seems to be obvious to everyone except the press that they are failing in their efforts to bring down the Trump administration. Regrettably, it appears that our once vaunted Fourth Estate has forgotten the most basic lessons of journalism and integrity.