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Trust in Media Is Collapsing
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  • Boritz

    “the collapse in institutional confidence”

    An interesting notion to blame a crisis in confidence rather than directly blame the behavior of the Press. A bit like saying objects fall because they have lost confidence in whatever was supporting them against gravity.

    • DiogenesDespairs

      Yes. Perhaps if our institutions and much of the media lied less they might be believed more.

      People are tired of buying that bridge to Brooklyn.

  • Andrew Allison

    I assume that what was meant was confidence in the institution, not the institutional confidence which is resulting in election upsets right and left. The institutions don’t have a clue about what’s seething in the breasts of the great unwashed. Je suis déplorable!

    • ljgude

      Nous somme tout déplorables, mon ami!

  • Anthony

    Newspapers, magazines, radio, television, streaming, internet, social-media, etc. help to propagate myths and images! Question becomes when do you want to believe – “can I believe this or must I believe that.”

    The media in our polarized/segmented/fractious information (misinformation) gathering environs may sometimes (oftentimes) define sociopolitical reality. To the writer’s point, even if trust is low as claimed we are still inclined to accept what confirms our proclivities – there is no such thing as unbiased news (all reports and analyses are selective and inferential to some inescapable degree).

  • stevegerow

    “Voters don’t care as much about Trump Foundation graft as Clinton
    Foundation influence-peddling….”

    Maybe that’s because it’s chicken feed compared to the Clinton corruption.

    • Jay B Spry

      And maybe Trump’s foundation, whatever the truth about it may be, did not employ the resources of the United States government and betray the American People and corrupt our public institutions the way the Clinton Foundation has and continues to do.

  • Tom

    Open question: How could any sane human being come to the conclusion that the media has somehow not been hard enough on Donald Trump?

    • FriendlyGoat

      Simple. He has not yet released his tax returns which would disclose the near certainty that he has been paying VERY little tax—–probably zero in many years—–while supposedly, per himself, accumulating a net worth of ten billion dollars. The fact that these returns are still denied to the public is the clear sign the media has not been nearly hard enough on Donald Trump.

      • alanstorm

        OMG!

        He hasn’t disclosed his tax returns!

        Have you?

        Obama hasn’t released his alleged college transcripts, which either show abject failure or the fact that he was claiming to be a foreign student.

        Grow a brain, or perhaps a spine.

        • FriendlyGoat

          My grown-up brain says Donald’s tax returns are too embarrassing to release. As a conservative, he should be proud of the absolutely onerous taxes he has been paying—-as example and justification for the GOP platform to reduce them at the high end. BUT—-he can’t let you know that he has been paying little or nothing, the recent conclusion of experts in tax as related to real estate development.
          As for my returns, I am not running for president.

          • ronetc

            Trump is not fool enough to release his tax returns for the simple reason that they will be long and complicated, and even if the sum total were that he legally paid all taxes owed, the media would find at least one line item they could misinterpret and twist into something to throw a hissy fit about. I would, however, think it a great ploy were Trump to say “I will release my tax returns if Obama releases his college records.”

          • KenIh

            If Trump released his tax returns it would be the only thing the press talked about until election day. Trump’s numbers go up when he talks about serious issues that American’s care about. His numbers go down when he’s forced to talk about stupid things. The press is doing everything they can to force Trump to talk about stupid things.

            The big question will be during the debates will the moderator(s) focus on stupid questions for Trump while giving Hillary policy questions? The moderator could really put an end to the Trump rising poll numbers if they try.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The defining issue of Republicanism is its claim that taxes at the high end are too high and should be reduced. I don’t believe that is one of the “stupid things”—–it is THE thing for Republicans to defend because it is THE thing they exist to accomplish. Far from irrelevant—–which is precisely why Donald is seeking to avoid being a counter example of the party’s main claim.

          • FriendlyGoat

            On a personal tax return Form 1040, everything in dozens or hundreds or even thousands of pages is mere detail to support what is shown on the front and back of the first sheet of paper. That we are too stupid to assess the top-line summaries on the first two pages is both a fib and an insult to intelligence. You’re being played for a goofball.

      • Tom

        Oh wait…you’re serious.

        • FriendlyGoat

          Of course. A press that cannot force a Barnum-character like Trump into putting up or shutting up is not up to par. He is playing the press like a violin and they are agreeing to major in his minors. Dutifully reporting every ridiculous thing he says is nothing but a patsy role. THE QUESTION is whether the GOP position on taxes is supported by the financial reality of the wealthiest person running for president as a tax-cutting conservative in our lifetimes. It not only isn’t, but the working-class dolts who support him absolutely deserve to be shown that it isn’t. The press, however, answers to its advertisers and is not properly pushing this issue for that reason.

          • Tom

            Translation: The press is falling down on the job, because they aren’t partisan in the way I want them to be.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Translation: You are speechless when confronted with candid truth.

          • Tom

            Sorry, the snarker comes out when I run into blatant misinformation and shilling.

          • FriendlyGoat

            It’s not the snarker. It’s the pesky problem of no coherent answer.

          • Tom

            What sort of coherent answer can one give to a worldview so steeped in self-delusion?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Well, one could admit that a candidate in the tip-top segment of self-reported net worth who is unwilling to release his tax returns is an unreliable source of plans for re-working the tax code due to obvious conflicts of interest. That would be a reasonable start.

          • Tom

            Have I not made it clear enough that I’m #NeverTrump?
            Because I’ll freely admit that Trump is not a man I trust to do anything right. It’s just that Clinton can’t be trusted to do that either–for that matter, she can’t be trusted to do anything left.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Well, if you’re going with Gary Johnson (since presumably Jill Stein is not your cup of tea), at least you won’t be doing any damage.

          • Tom

            Nope.
            Although I will say, I won’t be voting for Trump in spite of most of his detractors.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Okay!

          • question?

            The press is falling down on the job, because they fail to report the facts and instead rely on “narratives” aka fiction. Obama claims the unemployment rate is 5%. The 5% was achieved by not counting the long term unemployed and the under employed. The reality is that based on labor participation (an easily googled stat published by the government) the unemployment rate is 40% which is nothing short of an economic and social disaster.
            Why the heck is the media reporting 5% instead of questioning it?

      • Jonathon Berry

        Are you saying being a billionaire and paying a small amount (or zero) tax are contradictions? Tax returns do little to reflect net worth; so if this is your argument, I suspect that you have not spent a lot of time looking at tax returns and thinking about ways to lower the bill.

        I’m not sure what bombshell you think is hiding in his taxes. The fact that he pays little to no tax? Do you think he does that illegally? Who would be offended by a small tax bill and why would they be offended?

        The only possible issue I can see with his taxes involves his claims about charitable giving. But you can do your charitable donations through your business. Which may, or may not show up on your taxes depending on how you file. Judging by the fact that Trump holds all of his stock via the Trump Organization and seems to actually use it for a lot of similar purposes (i.e. his use of the Trump Org plane), it’s not absurd to think he does his charitable giving through his company too.

        • FriendlyGoat

          Yes, accumulating Trump-level wealth (whatever that is) while paying very little tax over a long period of time absolutely IS a contradiction to the entire Republican philosophy that taxes are too high and must be reduced.
          As for charitable giving, if Donald actually has large amounts of taxable income and is reducing it for tax avoidance by giving large amounts to legitimate charity—-there is NOTHING wrong with that.
          A more likely scenario is that he has used existing tax law to find enough paper deductions to not be showing taxable income and is therefore not giving to charity because he doesn’t need the deductions. It’s said, for instance, that he has not given to his own foundation since 2008—-something apparently determined from the tax returns of his foundation.
          The point is, Donald’s financial life does not support the tax platform he is running on, and the press should have that as the perma-headline until he proves otherwise.

          • Jonathon Berry

            So you’re saying that tax lawyers are free? This in fact highlights his point about taxes being too high. Whenever hiring an army of tax attorneys to lower your tax bill is actually cheaper than paying the tax itself, you actually have to be stupid to just pay the tax. I’ve seen his yearly cash flow estimated at roughly $250 million. When you include New York City taxes, New York State taxes, plus federal income tax, it puts Trumps effective tax rate at nearly 50%.
            Therefore, it’s literally cheaper to spend $124,000,000 hiding his money from taxes than it is to just pay $125,000,000. That doesn’t mean that taxes aren’t too high. In fact, it means just the opposite.

          • FriendlyGoat

            You don’t get business deductions by paying lawyers to “manufacture” them. The sufficient loopholes are either there to be found for you, or they are not. The tax law is what it is. Donald and his party say they are being abused by high taxes. Donald’s returns almost certainly prove the opposite====which is why they are hidden.
            As for your specific argument, it would be kinda easy to knock the shine off of a claim that paying $124,000,000 to New York lawyers is better than paying $125,000,000 to the U.S. military. It would be hard to find broad support for that——-not that your hypothetical numbers are true.

          • Jonathon Berry

            Of course tax attorneys don’t manufacture deductions. Who said that? What are you even talking about? Are you suggesting that Trump sits down and does the taxes because the deductions are just there and the “tax law is what it is” and the IRS automatically gives out all deductions? No. That’s absolutely not how it works. And, there are an infinite amount of ways besides deductions to lower your tax bill and deductions may not even be a substantial part of that depending on a lot of factors.
            I obviously made up the numbers to prove a point, which you clearly don’t understand. The BASIC point is that people will spend a ridiculous amount of money to avoid a ridiculous tax bill. As long as the former is smaller than the latter. The only number made up there is the cost for the attorneys (and accountants) and their subsequent tax avoidance schemes, because the effective tax rate for someone living in NYC with Trump’s income is somewhere around 50%.
            Are you suggesting that Trump has a moral duty to pay 50% of his income to taxes? Because that’s a coherent argument I can understand and possibly even sympathize with. But you seem to argue that taxes aren’t too high because Trump likely pays little to no tax. And this is because he’s willing to spend anywhere up to 49% of his income to avoid paying out 50% of his income. It’s like saying medical care isn’t too expensive because I’m willing to pay up to 100% of my income to not die. Patently absurd.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I don’t believe Donald is spending 49% of his income on lawyers to avoid paying 50% in taxes. But, if he is, his tax returns would show that SOMEWHERE in the many corporations as deductions for professional fees paid. You are claiming such disclosure would enhance Donald’s reputation as a smart guy. I am claiming it would be received by the electorate with a resounding thud of his poll numbers falling through the sidewalk in front of Trump Tower. That’s WHY the media should be on this story more than on anything else.
            Donald’s financial life and Donald’s stated purpose for wanting to be president do not mesh with each other as consistent truth—–and no—–it’s not too complicated for the delicate sensibilities of the hat wearers. They would “get it” immediately. We all deserve for them to “get it”.

          • Jonathon Berry

            Corporations don’t show up on personal tax returns. And you’re again taking hypothetical numbers proving a point as concrete facts (again). I’m arguing that it is economically rational to lose less money, rather than lose more money. It’s a very simple point.

            I’m not making any claims about his reputation or whatever else you’re talking about. I’m talking about simple economic incentives. If you can’t accept “paying less is better than paying more” as a premise in an argument, then we don’t have anything to discuss here.

            “Donald’s financial life and Donald’s stated purpose for wanting to be president do not mesh with each other as consistent truth—–and no—–it’s not too complicated for the delicate sensibilities of hat wearers” – What are you talking about? Taxation isn’t even in the top 10 issues for Trump. He came out with a tax plan because every candidate always comes out with a tax plan.

          • FriendlyGoat

            OF COURSE corporations show up on personal tax returns. Donald is either receiving personal income as pass-through from his hundreds of subsidiary corporations (which are Subchapter S in family companies) or he isn’t——because they are all somehow showing losses.
            As for Republicans, they EXIST to lower taxes at the high end. Please don’t take me for a total nincompoop. Donald is most concerned about eliminating the estate tax because he actually does intend to pass a very substantial estate to Ivanka and other heirs. This is THE defining issue. The rest is smoke for bubba-land.

          • Jonathon Berry

            “Donald is most concerned about eliminating the estate tax because he actually does intend to pass a very substantial estate to Ivanka and other heirs and would like to do that tax-free as well as having avoided income tax. This is THE defining issue. The rest of his agenda is a smoke screen for the dwellers in bubba-land.”

            You actually believe this?

          • FriendlyGoat

            Of course. Why else would one call it a “death tax”? It certainly is not a tax on dying. The vast (vast) majority people will never have an estate tax liability when they die because they will be leaving assets to their heirs which fall within VERY generous exemptions from any estate taxation. The only people who use the words “death tax” to fool voters are those who have very large estates which they wish to pass intact—–creating American dynasties. Although there are a few bigger family estate values in this country (such as Gates and Buffett who will be funneling most to charity), the Trump family right now is probably the most famous example of family-held wealth in the country. And what is Donald leading with? Repeal the Death Tax!

          • John Morris

            You understand nothing about taxes and the economic cost they impose. Of course Trump isn’t paying anything close to half to tax lawyers directly. No, the cost comes from the way the lawyers and tax accountants restructure the entire enterprise in ways that lower tax liability at the expense of horrible inefficiencies introduced throughout the organization. The endless shell corporations in each state with operations, the overseas shells to route the profits through, the foundations and shelters to redirect the money around to avoid taxation but limit the uses the money can be put to, limit the ability to move money from one operation to another to take advantage of an opportunity.

            And of course there is the reality that this is the goal of the policymakers, taxes aren’t levied to raise revenue so much as to redirect economic activity in ways that benefit the policymakers. You know they have their hooks into all of the tax shelters, either directly or by rigging it to generate make work for favored groups.

    • Pete

      There are millions of un-sane people out there who drink the leftwing Kool-aids supplied by the corrupt media.

  • Blackbeard

    The First Amendment was a wonderful idea but it just hasn’t worked out. But what should we do instead?

    • LarryD

      Look up “Army of Davids”.

      The institutional press is dying. As Instapundit puts it,”think of them as Democratic operatives with bylines”. The new press doesn’t work for anyone, honestly admits is biases, and earns the trust of its readership by being trustworthy. It helps if you’re a subject matter expert, and can take honest criticism.

    • alanstorm

      Spread it more widely, i.e. don’t vote for Hillary.

  • Angel Martin

    The legacy media has abandoned even the pretence of straight news reporting for this campaign cycle. They have publicly thrown in their lot with Team Blue.

    Now it’s a free country, and the legacy media can do whatever they want. But after openly taking sides, they do not have the standing to adjudicate disputes between the campaigns, and award “Pinocchio’s” for untruthfulness… etc.

  • Amadeus 48

    One point lacking from this interesting note is the way that Obama, after his thrashing in the 2014 elections, has set the stage for the caudillo style of Trump. Mr. President Pen and Phone has himself undermined the political institutions that have sustained this wildly diverse country for over 200 years.

    • Jim__L

      Anyone who supported Obama’s “because my tribe wants it this way” overreach frankly DESERVES Trump.

      What can we do? We can look back at the Founding Fathers, at the original Constitution. “Demagogue trying to undermine the political system? Yeah, we know all about the type. We got this.”

      We can support Constitutional limits on the Presidency, and form a strange-bedfellows alliance between terrified Democrats and principled Conservatives, to reinforce those Constitutional limits.

      But if Hillary wins, we’re screwed.

      • Amadeus 48

        Amen.

  • ronetc

    Trump’s “continued popular appeal—however unsavory it may be” . . . good to know I am reading an unbiased media figure.

    I have listened carefully but never heard Trump make “racially charged remarks.” Illegal aliens are not a race, nor are Islamic terrorists hiding among legal immigrants.

    “[I]t may be that the media’s occasional well-meaning but clumsy efforts to run interference for Trump—for example, by willfully downplaying crime statistics—has drawn more voters into his orbit” . . . I do not think “run interference” means what the author thinks it does. I believe he means “throw stumbling blocks.”

    • Andrew Allison

      Regular readers of TAI are all to well aware of the publication’s disdain for Trump and the roughly fifty percent of the voters (Les Déplorables) who say they’ll vote for him him.

    • alanstorm

      What about Hillary’s unsavory appeal?

  • ljgude

    To take the long view the Republican party was the natural party of government from its radical birth at the time of the the Civil War to when it hit the wall in ’29 as the party of the establishment. The Democrats under FDR became the natural party of government and have, in their turn, become the party of the establishment. The Degree to which Hillary Clinton is viewed more negatively as an establishment figure in 2016 than she was in 2008 is one indicator of how rapidly an establishment party can lose its way. A good portion of the Republican party is also the establishment – I read today that Poppa Bush is going to vote for Hillary. This website is one of the few places where we have a clear concept of the need for something beyond the establishment – beyond the Blue Model, but the way forward is not clear. WRM certainly has some suggestions, but nothing has crystallised in the public arena. Most of the establishment thinks there is nothing wrong and is prepared to shame any one opposes them with political correctness – hence all of us who number ourselves among the deplorables. Trump is the wall the Establishment has hit – the whole virtue signalling lot of them. He has seriously disrupted the silencing of common sense and made it possible to speak of Islamic butchery (I’m thinking of the latest outbreak of cutlery accidents and cookware violence) without being diagnosed as phobic. I will vote for Trump because I think he will pry the cold dead fingers of the establishment off the Republican party. At least I think that is possible. The Democratic party will cling to its position as the natural party of government until another party – a revitalised Republican party purged of its establishment or a new party can offer the American people a clear path forward.

    • Andrew Allison

      Exactly.

      • ljgude

        Thanks.

  • jguy1957

    Lets face it the MSM is in the tank for Hillary. Nobody in America likes being told what to do and that is what the MSM is doing. Its turning off large parts of the public that normally would support the Dems. Also no one likes Hillary and knows she lies, is a crook, and will work for the elites who pay her and not the people.

  • Frank Natoli

    whatever the reality of media bias
    Like, whatever the reality of the sun rising in the East? The author MUST KNOW that the vast majority of media writers and broadcasters are J-school grads and overwhelmingly registered Democrats. These people are bigots and do not hesitate to display their bigotry with their writing and with their speech because their community is intellectually incestuous and demands diversity of everything except thought.

  • DiogenesDespairs

    How exactly does downplaying crime statistics help Trump, who presents himself as the law and order candidate?

    Maybe this is sloppy copy-editing? Or carelessness by the author? One hopes so. But even if so, the author is not exactly helping the reputationn of the media, is he?

    • Daniel Kennelly

      Yes, it was a typo, now corrected. Thanks for spotting it and letting us know.

  • Beauceron

    Amidst a tidal wave of bad news for the world and this country, I actually find this report somewhat heartening.

    If people don’t trust a lying, corrupt, irredeemably biased institution like our press– if they can see through the thick haze of obfuscation and bias– then perhaps there is some small glimmer of hope for us after all.

    • ljgude

      Yes, there is hope. The German people in WW2 and the Russian people right up to the fall of the Soviet Union knew they were being lied too wholesale and learned to see through it. The most worrying fact in the above chart is that 51% of independents still believe in Santa Claus. We used to have some really good reporters – Shirer’s Berlin Diaries come to mind – but then again we had Walter Duranty getting a Pulitzer for covering up Stalin’s slaughter of the Kulaks in the Ukraine in the NY Times.

      • Beauceron

        “The most worrying fact in the above chart is that 51% of independents still believe in Santa Claus.”

        Quick correction: the chart indicates that only 30% of Independents trust the press. The 51% number is for Democrats– which is it’s own worrying stat. I do not believe that those 51% actually think the media is fair– so to me it indicates that half of Democrats want their news to be biased.

        Here’s the thing that troubles me.

        You say the “German people” and “Russian people.”

        What are we? We have had such a mass influx of immigrants over the past 30-40 years, some of whom, let’s be honest, are not going to assimilate and are never going to assimilate. Couple that with a far Left movement on campus and media that states that assimilation and integration is racist and xenophobic. This is deeply troubling to me. It is very divisive. The identity politics the Left now focuses on with a vengeance means we will perpetually be divided. We can never be a people. Not ever. A people can overcome anything. A fractured, angry, race-obsessed population can do nothing but rage at each other.

        • ljgude

          Thanks for the correction – that makes a lot more sense.

  • adk

    Why or why would anyone think our media is biased against Trump/Republicans or isn’t particularly patriotic?
    Here’s a sample of today’s news and ed/op-ed headlines from the Washington Post — all examples of journalistic objectivity, subtlety, and clear thinking:

    Trump used $258,000 from his charity to settle legal problems
    How Trump winks at political violence
    Trump’s Hitlerian disregard for the truth. Like Adolf Hitler, Trump believes the lies he tells.
    A vote for Trump is a vote for climate catastrophe
    After the weekend’s attacks, Clinton acted like a leader. Trump did not.
    Birtherism is Donald Trump’s Big Lie
    In Poland, a preview of what Trump could do to America. Right-wing nationalists launder a conspiracy theory into official truth.

    As a source — and a patriot — Edward Snowden deserves a presidential pardon
    Edward Snowden is the perfect candidate for a presidential pardon
    Attacker’s family in shock as authorities seek answers in Minnesota mall rampage
    How Muslim women bear the brunt of Islamophobia
    Voters barely worry about their own health. Do they really care about the president’s?

  • Stephen

    If this is what collapsing looks like, what will it look like when it has collapsed?

  • alanstorm

    “Trust in Media Is Collapsing”

    Think ya got the tense wrong there, Tex.

  • Jay B Spry

    It’s a commonplace of human nature, especially in our ethically illiterate society, to equate “fair” with “whatever is good for me”.
    With an institution like the press which, in its legitimate form, is by definition objective and without fear or favor, it is interesting that one political group has so much higher a regard for them than the other.

  • question?

    Trust in the media collapsed years ago. It is only being noticed because even the political candidates are disrespecting the media to their faces during televised debates. According to a recent PEW poll, the media’s approval rating was 6% compared to congress which has 13%. When you are trusted less than congress you are really doing something wrong

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