Poll: Majority believe the media has “assumed the role of the opposition party”

posted at 8:01 am on March 8, 2017 by Jazz Shaw

If you haven’t been noticing something of a trend in the, shall we say “tone” of media coverage as it relates to the Trump presidency you probably don’t spend any of your time watching the news. But how prevalent is that attitude around the country? A new poll from Investors Business Daily finds that if you happen to be feeling that way you are far from alone. A solid majority of the country has grown “weary” of what is described as the “relentless negative coverage” of the new administration.

The mainstream media’s open hostility to President Trump may be starting to backfire, according to the latest IBD/TIPP poll.

The poll found that 55% of the public says they’ve grown “weary from the media’s persistently negative coverage of President Trump.” A roughly equal share (54%) also believe that the news media “has assumed the role of the opposition party, constantly opposing the president and his policies at every turn.”

Not surprisingly, Republicans overwhelmingly hold these views (88% say they’re tired of the relentless negativity), but the media’s attacks are also turning off independents (55% of whom say they’re weary of the negative coverage) and moderates (54% of whom are weary). Most also believe that the press has assumed the role of the opposition party.

This handy-dandy graphic provides a few of the specific questions which were asked, and the responses, while definitely breaking along party lines, are not quite as one-sided as you might have guessed.

The responses from Republicans were sort of a given and I’m guessing that you would see similar numbers at any time no matter who is occupying the Oval Office. What’s more interesting here isn’t even the responses of the independents. Look at the numbers for the Democrats. Basically one third of them are willing to admit that the mainstream media has assumed the role “of the opposition party.” And a quarter of them are not confident that the media will cover the White House fairly. That’s fairly remarkable.

The real question here is whether or not these perceptions are based on any verifiable metrics. Seeking an answer, the authors turn to reports from a nonpartisan group called Media Tenor. Their recent study of network news coverage shows that a grand total of 3% of stories about the Trump administration could be described as “positive.” 43% were described as “negative” and the remaining 54% were lumped into the category of “neutral.”

Frankly, that 54% neutral number sounds a bit on the high side to me but I’ll take them at their word. This isn’t any different than the figures we saw during the final months of the campaign to be honest. Pretty much everything written in major newspapers or said on cable news roundtables was uniformly negative when it came to Donald Trump. If all of this is to leave us with any remaining doubts, the better question might have been who these people are who seem to believe that the media assuming the role of a force opposed to conservatism and the GOP is a new development. The other aspect of that report from Media Tenor which is worth highlighting is their description of the corresponding media coverage of Barack Obama during his first months in office, where they describe the “overwhelmingly positive coverage of the early Obama administration, despite the fact that Obama had his own share of early stumbles.”

In conclusion, this poll doesn’t represent some sudden sea change or shift in the journalistic landscape. This is simply a larger number of people becoming aware of a condition which has been in place for quite a while now.


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