There appear to be polls that show a large percentage of Trump supporters believe the mainstream media is fake news, and that Trump’s tweets are more trustworthy.
Many on the more liberal side of things are surprised by that. But I’m not too surprised.
First, there is a huge difference between fake news and biased news. Fake news is, exactly that, fake. The events didn’t happen. Like the Bowling Green Massacre.
Biased news, on the other hand, is all other news. It is impossible to write a story, or even pick a story to write about, without showing some sort of bias.
Now, any serious media outlet will have some bias in its reporting, but it will take great care to ensure the facts underlying a story are, in fact, facts.
So why aren’t they trusted? Well I think anyone with political leanings away from main stream Democratic thinking was and is disappointed by this and last year’s media coverage.
If you liked Hillary, well then, you were probably pretty happy with what you read.
But if, like me, you liked Gary Johnson, you would have been bothered by: 1) the editorial decision to hardly cover him at all, and 2) the biased coverage given when he was covered.
He was only discussed in the main stream media as a spoiler. Barely mentioned. When he was discussed, two points were always made: he smoked pot and he didn’t know where Aleppo was.
Now, if I was writing the news, my biases would have shown. I would have put in more coverage of him, and I would have noted that he could have been a viable candidate, and that in New Mexico he balanced the budget, created jobs, was very popular, and vetoed a whole bunch of special interest, lobbyist created legislation sent to his desk. Basically he did all things I would want a president to do.
Now you might disagree with my editorial decisions, but they would be based on facts. Just as the main stream media was factual. Yet, when I read a serious news article that referred to him as Gary ‘Aleppo’ Johnson, well you can see how I might begin to not trust that news source. It’s factual, he got the Aleppo question wrong, but there was a bit more to him than just that, and constantly harping on this one error was, to say the least, extremely annoying to me.
My son was very interested in Bernie Sanders (and Gary Johnson) and always enjoyed getting a lot of his news from NPR. Well NPR gave Sanders almost zero coverage. It was Hillary, Hillary, Hillary. What about Bernie? Nothing. He was listening one day and realized it was the first time he had heard Sander’s voice on NPR. Sanders was giving up and pledging support to Hillary. That is, their editorial policy only covered him when he supported Hillary.
Nothing un-factual about that. But very disappointing to someone interested in Bernie Sanders. He doesn’t listen to NPR anymore. He wonders, where should he get his news?
And Trump, I hate Trump and all he stands for as much as the next Trump hater, but I believe someone, anyone, even Trump, should be given fair coverage.
Here were the headlines at one point last year in the major news media: “Trump calls Hillary the Devil!” Well, it was true. But I was curious and went back and listened to what he actually said.
It turns out he was making a legitimate point. He said he had respect for Sanders and what Sanders was trying to do, but that Sanders had sold out, compromised his principles, to support Hillary.
Well, that’s interesting. He raised a good point. You may or may not agree, but it’s certainly worth discussing whether what he did sold out his prinicples or not.
Then Trump used a common phrase for selling out, he said Sanders made a deal with the Devil. And then, realizing how he could play with it, said, and Hillary is the Devil.
Next day’s headlines from Google News feed: Trump calls Hillary the Devil! There was no coverage whatsoever of the legitimate point he was making, just outrage at the comparison of Hillary and the Devil.
It made me not trust their coverage of Trump. The only way I could learn about the point Trump was trying to make was to listen to Trump himself. The news media didn’t report it. Nothing fake about that, just biased. And very unsatisfactory.
I mentioned how I distrusted the media coverage because of how they treated Johnson, and my son distrusted the media because of how they treated Sanders. I assume you’re reading this because you’re one of my many liberal friends, but put yourself in a Trump supporter’s frame of mind for a second. How would you react to the main stream media’s coverage of him? One issue of the New Yorker Magazine had six, that’s right, six articles each one describing another way Trump was horrible.
Well if you hate Trump, that’s fun, but would you read that magazine if you liked him?
And so, my son follows Bernie on the Internet, I look for news of Libertarians on their Web site, and the Trump supporters? Well you can see how genuine fake news, straight from the horse’s mouth might just seem a whole lot more believable than truth as seen through the biases of the Washington Post or NY Times.