ON TRUST: Donald Trump Polls Way Less than CNN – and Every Other TV News Network

For someone who is obsessed with castigating the news media as “fake” and “enemies,” Donald Trump is sure suffering from an approval deficit by the American people. He tweets furiously at all hour of the day and night about how dishonest the press is, but all of that animus and bile has produced nothing in terms of respect from the public at large.

Donald Trump

A survey conducted for the Brand Keys Research Intelligencer rated the levels of trust for each of the major television news networks. The results placed the BBC at the top of the pile (with 90%) as the most trusted source. Fox News came in second (87%), followed by PBS (86%). It’s important to remember that this survey was conducted by surveying respondents who watched the rated network at least three times a week. So to some extent it was collecting the views of people who were regular viewers. That would explain the Fox number, whose viewers are devoted and worshipful cultists.

The placement of the rest of the broadcast and cable news networks ranged respectably from MSNBC (80%), CBS (72%), NBC (70%), ABC (69%), and CNN (69%). But the most interesting number in this survey was the one for Donald Trump. He managed to pull in a paltry twenty-nine percent who say that he is trustworthy. That’s less than a third of what the BBC did. Even more troubling from his perspective is that it’s less than half of what his arch nemesis CNN did. And when the numbers were broken down by political affiliation, Trump’s base of Republicans still only rated him at a measly thirty-five percent. Even lower, of course, were Independents (22%) and Democrats (14%).

So while Trump has spent the past two years relentlessly attacking the media in the most vicious terms, he has managed to achieve nothing but solid goose eggs in terms of respect or trust from the public. This survey affirms similar polls conducted in the past that found Trump trailing every news enterprise, TV or print, on the question of trust. And by wide margins.

It also affirms the results of a unique study published by The Economist this week that revealed that the media that Trump hates the most (New York Times, Washington Post, etc.) actually became stronger and more popular during the seventeen months since Trump was inaugurated. So despite his efforts to drag down any press operation that wasn’t unflinchingly adoring, he actually had the opposite effect of boosting their profiles with the public. What’s more, his reliance on, and promotion of, Fox News and Breitbart produced sharp downslopes for those flagrantly biased outfits. And if that’s what he means by “winning,” let’s have more of it.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

THE TRUMP EFFECT: His Attempts to Destroy the Media Have Actually Made it Stronger

One way to look at the presidency of Donald Trump is as a contrarian indicator. Whatever he tries to achieve ends up producing the opposite results. For instance, when threatened Kim Jong Un with “fire and fury,” he later embraced him as an “honorable” man who would abandon his nuclear ambitions. And now we learn that Kim is actually escalating his intercontinental ballistic missile program.

Donald Trump Effect

Trump is a sort of reverse King Midas: everything he touches turns to – let’s say garbage. His tax scam has benefited the wealthy while adding a trillion dollars to the deficit. His EPA has ignored environmental protection in favor of loosening regulations for polluters. His border wall is nonexistent and Mexico definitely isn’t paying for it. What he calls “winning” is just papered over failure, much like his casinos and university.

Now the Economist has published the results of a study that tracked the fortunes of the mainstream media for the eighteen months he has occupied the White House. During the entirety of that time, Trump has castigated the supposedly free press as “horrible people,” “liars,” “sleazy,” and he has adopted Stalin’s rhetoric by calling the media “the enemy of the American people.” Lately he has also adopted the behavior of tyrants by trying to ban journalists who dare to challenge his omnipotent (more accurately, impotent) authority.

It turns out that the media enterprises that Trump has attacked the most have gained popularity and success. The Economist’s poll asked a representative sample of Americans to rate large American news organisations on a scale from “very trustworthy” to “very untrustworthy.” The outcome of this survey is a useful lesson on the ineffectual tactic of childish browbeating that is Trump’s sole method of interacting with society. According to the Economist:

“From October 15th 2016, shortly before he was elected, to this month, confidence in Mr Trump’s two most frequently targeted newspapers, the New York Times and Washington Post, has actually grown. During the same period, trust in two media outlets that offer him reliably fawning coverage, Fox News and Breitbart, has withered.”

So the outlets Trump hates most are flourishing, and the ones that suck up to him are suffering. The study also found that this growth was not limited to liberals stepping up their support for news that affirms their biases. Even Trump supporters were leaning more favorably toward the objects of his hostility. And the allegedly “failing” New York Times saw monthly online readership double to 130 million since Trump’s inauguration.

Combine this with other polling that shows that the American people trust the media far more than they trust Trump and you have a recipe for continuing delusions from a president who is already acutely disturbed. And this new study proves that Trump’s rabid attacks on on the Constitution are only strengthening the subjects of the First Amendments protections. Nice work, Dotard.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.