Behind the latest Pew survey documenting historically low levels of trust in the media are three simple sets of numbers.
Only 10 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of independents trust the media, as opposed to 73 percent of Democrats.
Republican trust in the media was in the 40s from the ’90s to the oughts before hitting a major cliff in 2004 and falling into the 30s. By 2012, it had dropped even more catastrophically, plummeting into the 20s, and after a brief recovery toward the end of Obama’s term in office, it dropped into the teens in 2016.
I don’t think anyone needs a map for these dates.
The Iraq War, the 2012 election, and the 2016 election. Curiously, Republican trust in the media didn’t take that much of a beating in 2008. It was the Iraq War, Obama’s reelection, and Trump vs. Hillary that did it. The media can try to blame President Trump’s “fake news” line, but it was beating a dead horse. And it’s pretty obvious that the media’s blatant bias at crucial periods resulted in an almost total Republican jettisoning of the media.
Among independents, the Iraq War proved to be a crucial cliff, followed by a steady decline, with fewer cliffs.
Meanwhile, among Democrats, the opposite reaction took place.
The Iraq War was also a cliff, but Democrat trust then quickly rose, and shot up dramatically in the Trump era, going from the 50s to the 70s.
As an institution, the media has succeeded in fantastically building its brand among its own political faction while losing the rest of the country.
Plenty of conservatives have observed that the media is a Democrat messaging machine. But it’s also good to remember that it structurally functions that way because it’s made for Democrats by Democrats, and for lefties by lefties.
When you listen to the media, it’s like you’re vacationing in France and watching the local news. The media’s content isn’t meant for you.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.