Hint: It’s not Donald Trump, and it’s not Congress, whose approval ratings are both modestly positive at the moment. It’s not even “your employer,” according to Gallup, whose latest survey puts them in strongly positive range. In fact, almost every group that Gallup tests in its poll comes up with positive approval ratings — except for one:
Americans are generally positive in their evaluations of how each of nine leaders and institutions has handled the response to the coronavirus situation. Eight of the nine receive majority positive ratings — led by U.S. hospitals, at 88% approval. Only the news media gets a more negative than positive review.
And it’s not even close. Trump, Congress, and Vice President Mike Pence are all essentially tied in approval when accounting for margin of error around the 60% mark. The news media, on the other hand …
Oof. Bear in mind, too, that the numbers for many of these institutions are likely inflated by a rally impulse in a major crisis. Congress almost never gets majority approval for anything they do, for instance, and employers are rarely this popular either. Even in this crisis, the media can’t get above water for their performance, which is a rather stinging indictment. When your industry falls fifteen points below Congress’ approval, it’s a very bad sign for its credibility.
And it could be worse. If it wasn’t for 61% approval among Democrats, it would be even lower. Interestingly, the media is the only institution in which Democrats have more faith than Republicans (25%), although both register 85% approval of state governments’ handling of the crisis.
Perhaps this result will cause some introspection among media-outlet executives about the thrust of their coverage. They might do better by putting Trump on more rather than less, and do even better by putting aside other agendas to focus on what’s actually happening in this crisis. As opposed to, say, blaming Trump when some moron drinks fish-tank cleaner. Just sayin’.