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media watch
Is the Press Too Tough on Trump?

A new Gallup poll should give pause both to President Trump’s ardent defenders who say that a rogue press corps is out to get him and to his more hysterical critics who say that the media isn’t being sufficiently adversarial. Though the country is deeply divided, the median voter thinks that press has been fair:

In the wake of several contentious encounters between President Donald Trump’s White House and the national press corps, Americans disagree on the news media’s coverage of the new president and his administration. Just over a third of Americans (36%) think the media has been too tough on Trump, while just under a third (31%) think it has been about right and 28% say it has not been tough enough. Republicans overwhelmingly believe the media has been too tough on Trump.

It’s worth noting that the public perceives the press as being far tougher on Trump than it was on Obama early in his presidency:

The public’s mood, according to this late January poll, differs from that in January 2009, when only 11% of Americans thought the news media had been too tough on newly elected President Barack Obama. Nearly half (48%) thought the media was about right in its coverage of Obama and his administration, while 38% said it was not tough enough.

Many liberals have expressed concern that the Trump administration will silence the media as it makes a bid to consolidate power and silence critics. But as we’ve noted before, the biggest threat to the media’s role in our democracy probably isn’t the federal government—it’s the fact that, for a variety of reasons, the public’s trust in the media has been declining for years. The best thing the press can do is try to report rigorously fairly, skeptically, and with humility, rather than trying to right some perceived political imbalance by trying to either puff up the administration or take it down.

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  • KremlinKryptonite

    The “press” endorses candidates. They largely endorse democrats (establishment democrats to be precise).
    The press is largely an arm of the Democratic Party.
    Once a magazine or paper endorses a candidate they leave the realm of meaningful news and enter the realm of partisan politics.
    The bias has been strong this time around, but it’s almost always present.

  • Disappeared4x

    This Gallup poll asked four questions of 1,018 adults 18+, “…weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status…” on Jan 30-31, 2017. Gallup did NOT weight sample for political affiliation, nor did Gallup define “news media”.
    After reading all four questions and responses in sequence, my conclusions : there appears to be a partisan sample skew toward Democrats, POTUS Trump is moving too fast, and, perhaps Questions 1 & 2 skewed the responses to 3 & 4, and still have no idea which news media the respondents rely on.
    Copied from the Gallup pdfs:

    1. Do you think Donald Trump is – [ROTATED: moving too fast, doing about right, or not moving fast enough] — in addressing the major problems facing the country today? Too fast 47 About right 35 Not fast enough 10 No opinion 7

    For comparison (Barack Obama): Do you think Barack Obama is – [ROTATED: moving too fast, doing about right, or not moving fast enough] — in addressing the major problems facing the country today? Too fast 22 About right 63 Not fast enough 10 No opinion 5

    2. Thinking now about some of the specific actions Donald Trump has taken since he has been in office, would you say you approve or
    disapprove of each of the following. How about –[RANDOM ORDER]? 2017 Jan 30-Jan 31 (sorted by “approve”)

    Approve Dis-approve No opinion

    Ordering a temporary ban on entry into the U.S. for most people from seven predominantly Muslim countries 42 55 3

    Ordering the construction of a wall along the southern border with Mexico 38 60 2

    Indefinitely suspending the United States’ Syrian refugee program 36 58 6

    For comparison (Barack Obama): Thinking now about some of the specific actions Barack Obama has taken since he has been in office, would you say you approve or disapprove of each of the following. How about – [RANDOM ORDER]? 2009 Jan 30-Feb 1 (sorted by “approve”)

    Approve Dis-approve No opinion

    Naming special U.S. envoys to deal with the situations in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the Middle East 76 15 9

    Restricting former lobbyists from working in the Obama administration, and restricting administration officials from working as
    lobbyists after leaving the government 76 17 6

    Requiring that all interrogations of military prisoners be conducted according to the Army Field Manual 74 19 7

    Ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to institute higher fuel efficiency standards 74 22 3

    Signing a bill that makes it easier for workers to sue companies for pay Discrimination 66 29 5

    Ordering the Guantanamo Bay prison for terrorist suspects be closed within a year 44 50 5

    Allowing U.S. funding for overseas family planning organizations that provide abortions 35 58 7

    Questions 1& 2

    Questions 3&4.

    • Disappeared4x

      Love to poll how many Americans still think POTUS Trump is “moving to fast” now that “Jordanian air force targets ISIS in southern Syria: Shortly after a meeting between President Trump and King Abdullah II, the Jordanian air force conducted air strikes against ISIS targets in southern Syria on Friday night.”
      Roi Kais and Liad Osmo|Published: 04.02.17 , 22:22

      “The Jordanian air force conducted air strikes against Islamic State targets in southern Syria on Friday night, hitting an ammunition
      depot, a car bomb factory and a barracks, the Jordanian military said in a statement. …Jordan commemorated the anniversary of the horrific burning of the Jordanian Air Force pilot, who was captured by ISIS in Syria in December 2014. The organization posted the video of his execution on February 3, 2015, in which he is seen burning alive inside a cage. …”,7340,L-4917580,00.html

      The news from Jordan and Israel still better than USA.

      Still standing by my 2015 prediction that Jordan will annex Daraa province in Syria.
      My current theory that Jordan and Israel can exchange Iraqi Christian refugees in Jordan for Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, fertile ground for a more vibrant Christian tourism industry might have to wait a few more weeks to become a prediction.

      • M Snow

        I’d love to poll the American people to find out how many know where Jordan is.

        • Disappeared4x

          between I-rack, and where Michael lives? deplorable morning…and this is still mostly news there, not here.
          Politico thinks FLOTUS Melania is a strategic asset & should champion the teaching of civics again. That is a start!
          Guess we would both add “Map reading”, maybe geography!

          • M Snow

            Perhaps she could teach Americans where Slovenia is.

          • Disappeared4x

            It is actually a serious post, esp for Politico!, although the suggestion about civics is more likely the writer’s fervent wish that someone champions the idea:


            Foodies already know where Slovenia is:

            Odd there is no date, but 2009 was when Slovenia really got noticed for farm-to-table cuisine and wine tourism.

          • M Snow

            OK, I’ll try to be serious too. How many Americans could locate Slovenia on a map? I say less than 10%. What’s your guess? By the way, I was lucky enough to visit Slovenia for a few days several years ago. The food was good but nothing spectacular. On the other hand, the country was exquisitely beautiful.

          • Disappeared4x

            Would be surprised if >10% of Americans know Slovenia is a nation in Europe, instead of an adjective for slovenly! My assumption is also that 90% think Adriatic Sea is a good choice for a baby name.
            This post is “under maintenance”

          • Disappeared4x

            Sooner than we thought: “Putin open to meeting Trump in Melania’s native Slovenia Fox News – ‎(Feb 10 2017 noon) President Vladimir Putin thanked Slovenia on Friday for offering to host his first meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, but added that the prospect hinges on Washington.” …
            [well, there IS a precedent]

            In 2001, Slovenia hosted Putin’s first meeting with former U.S. President George W. Bush that led to a short-lived thaw in relations between Moscow and Washington. …”


            In other news, NE Patriots owner Robert Kraft joined the Trumps and Abes of Japan for dinner at Mar-a-Lago. Golf tomorrow.

            Most interesting is coverage at Vanity Fair. Since Anna Wintour’s interview with WSJ, VF changed their coverage header from FLOTUS to Melania.

            and the attitude more normal.

            Good end to THIS thread, about the “Press” and Trump.

            ok, this is a better ending:

            “When the president’s ex-wife Marla Maples and daughter Tiffany Trump approached celeb stylist Phillip Bloch to consult on inaugural
            wear, he reached out to several designers.

            “People said no, and then they kind of came back and said, ‘Well, maybe . . . ,’ ” says Bloch. “Fashion people are supposed to be so
            creative and so ahead of the pack, but really they are all just followers.”

            The stylist himself wasn’t shaken: “I like a challenge and I am an American before everything.

            This is about women’s rights — women’s right to look good.”

            Acra, meanwhile, is already trying her hand at global diplomacy, moving her fall ready-to-wear show from NYC to Paris this month.

            “When you see what’s going on out there [during fashion month], the whole world is in confusion,” Acra says. “I have to think in a very different way and figure out how I want to promote my brand.”

            We’re guessing she wants it to be yuuuge.”


            “This is about women’s rights — women’s right to look good”

          • M Snow

            Thanks for the update. You’re right; that last bit is hilarious.

  • EMyrt

    WTF? Has this article been hacked?

    • Disappeared4x

      yes. safe again. came in through TAI homepage. didyouseepeshmerga?atthetime?

  • Andrew Allison

    Anybody who pays the slightest attention to the the so-called “news” headlines is perfectly well aware of the adversarial bias. I’m all in favor of this because the more the MSM discredits itself, not only will less attention paid to it but the more former Democrat voters will abandon ship. The self-immolation of the left will be the subject of much future study.

    • ljgude

      Right on the mark. Speaking of headlines, I like to skim the headlines at Real Clear Politics. Generically they go Trump is God followed by Trump is the Devil himself. I’d say somewhere around half of them amount to no more than a graffiti war and require no further investigation. Of course I have some rules. If I read an Ann Coulter I make myself read the next Maurine Dowd (or vice versa ) to keep myself from developing a Medusa complex. And if I want to rationalize something really stupid and outrageous – say like trying to seduce a 20 year old girl while in my 70s – I read a Tom Friedman because he can rationalize anything. 😉

      • Andrew Allison

        RCP used to be pretty good, but has deteriorated. As you suggest, the editors seem compelled to balance “Angel” and “Devil” headlines however unbalanced the article. Like you, I skim it these days and increasingly seldom click through to an article.

  • ljgude

    I wouldn’t call myself an ardent defender of Trump because I feel I am in a far ‘safer space’ when it comes to the President and his people being able to stick up for themselves. It wasn’t easy to watch the MSM sling mud at Bush who just stood there like a department store dummy with that ‘I don’t get it’ smile on his face. I also love the notion that the Gallup poll implies that Americans think the MSM is fair in any way. That is why I watch Fox News – not for the content mind – just to watch Britt Hume say “Fain and balanced. We report, you decide.” It sends a frisson of delight down my spine all the way to my prostate gland. The afterglow lasts for days. 😉

  • Boritz

    Why bother to draw any conclusions based on pure perception? Calculate the proportion of negative/positive coverage of the man who is so far doing exactly what he said during the campaign he would do and compare to the predecessor who was full of surprises such as like your plan keep your plan. At the very least a Martian would conclude the press prefers surprises and lots of them.

  • Anthony

    The challenge before the “Free Media” is to restore respect for facts (in a post factual world). The Free Media has to be aggressive without being hysterical and adversarial without being unduly oppositional. “The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.” (George Orwell)

  • FriendlyGoat

    There is no such thing as any media which is too tough on Trump or on conservatism in general. This is because America has had media totally dedicated for over twenty years to spinning for conservatism and against liberalism. These are in the form of Fox News on TV, talk radio on AM, a variety of religious radio and TV stations and many, many websites. The intended purpose of these was to be partisan.
    I mean, you could simply ask Rush Limbaugh whether he went on air to promote a “fairness doctrine” between Left and Right views. You KNOW what he’s gonna say about that, don’t you?

    If we really wanted “fair and balanced” across the spectrum from Fox to CNN to CBS to NBC to ABC to MSNBC to radio stations, we should have kept a real fairness doctrine for broadcasting. We didn’t.

    • Anthony

      To your point, the conservative media ecosystem you reference has conditioned its listeners to a MSM (free media) hammering desscribed as both bias and duplicitous. The result has been a delegitimization of the MSM by many conservative media adherents. But the real costs paid is the non-immunization by many in the ecosystem to false information.

      “A stunning demonstration of the power and resiliency of our new post factual political culture, Mr Trump and his allies in the right media have already forced the term ‘fake news’ against its critics, essentially draining it of any meaning.” (Charles J. Skyes)

      • FriendlyGoat

        “But the real costs paid is the non-immunization by many in the ecosystem to false information.”

        Great sentence. There are many kinds of false information and plenty of those were infecting our brains long before the most recent discussion of specific items identifiable as “fake news”.

        • Anthony

          Very, very true! You ascribe as much in your initial paragraph, 2nd sentence.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “it’s the fact that, for a variety of reasons, the public’s trust in the media has been declining for years.”

    It’s too easy, I just can’t comment on how this is insufficient to express how bad it is!

  • markterribile

    They’re too tough not because they are asking tough and fair questions. They’re too tough because they only report what advances their agenda, and they lie by omission and comission, by framing and inuendo, by playing on their audiences’ ignorance and their audiences’ biases, and by stringing together real or imagined facts that sound a good case, but that invite non-sequitors of sound and fury, signifying Narrative.

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