Media critics had a variety of reactions to a new Gallup poll showing while the media and Congress continue to lack public trust, the police were the only institution surveyed to have gained public confidence since last year.
Just 21% of respondents said they had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in newspapers, while only 16% of respondents reported the same of television news. Congress came in last, garnering just 12% confidence, but police support was at 51%, up three points from last year.
“Just stunning numbers when considering the context,” Fox News contributor Joe Concha said.
Concha noted that in the late 1970s, which he termed “the age of [Walter] Cronkite and [Roger] Mudd and [David] Brinkley,” trust in media was north of 70 percent. Now, as Gallup indicated, that number has plummeted. The reason, Concha said, “is simple.”
“Too much partisan opinion embedded in straight reporting,” he said. “Too much ego from those somehow holding the title of anchor in making themselves the story. Too many so-called ‘mistakes’ that only go in one direction against a particular party.”
Attendees at the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas, also evoked the days of Cronkite, the iconic CBS Evening News anchor, when asked about their trust in media.
“They force their opinion, they don’t give us the news, you know, like Walter Cronkite,” Larry Reynolds of Killeen, Texas told Fox News, adding there’s “a lot of damage done.”
The Media Research Center’s Dan Gainor agreed the Gallup survey shows “Americans on both sides of the aisle are finally catching on that the traditional press can’t be trusted.”
“It’s not just TV news, it’s newspapers,” he said. “Barely a third of those on the left trust newspapers and they used to be the serious authorities on news.”
But law enforcement, on the other hand, managed to get a bump in American confidence in spite of a very vocal “Defund the Police” movement that has taken hold in the wake of high-profile, police-involved deaths, such as the murder of George Floyd last year in Minneapolis.
Major U.S. cities have experienced crime surges in recent months, including the nation’s capital, where more than 100 homicides have already been reported this year. Democrats who have supported the Defund the Police effort such as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jamaal Bowman and Mondaire Jones of New York; Ilhan Omar of Minnesota; Rashida Tlaib of Michigan; Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Cori Bush of Missouri did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Chicago has also experienced overwhelming bloodshed this summer, with at least 11 people killed and 45 others injured in shootings just this past weekend. Yet the media has been accused of downplaying the alarming trend.
Infamous moments like MSNBC’s Ali Velshi standing in front of a burning building in Minneapolis last year declaring the situation was “not, generally speaking, unruly” and CNN posting a “fiery but mostly peaceful” graphic during protests in Kenosha, Wis., also contributed to mistrust.
“People saw how poorly the press reported the big news last year and can’t avoid it,” Gainor said. “There’s only so many times you can try to hide nationwide rioting, looting and arson or misreport COVID-19 before people catch on.”
Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen argued the rise in crime has only made Americans rely more on law enforcement and ignore media who try to “demonize” the men and women who wear the badge.
“I think the rise in violence amid the defund movement has led to a greater appreciation for the vital role law enforcement plays in keeping us safe,” Thiessen told Fox News. “There’s a poetic justice in the fact that public confidence in politicians and media who demonize police has gone down while support for the police has gone up. It shows that most Americans have a pretty good inner gyroscope.”
Despite the telling numbers, Gainor predicted leading media members won’t learn their lesson.
“The worst part of all this is that the major media have been broken for decades,” Gainor said. “Social media just made it easy to prove it. But journalists won’t even try to fix the problem. Instead, they will blame their critics.”