Every president has had differences with the media. Some have had overtly hostile relationships with members of the press they considered unfair. For the most part these quarrels were below the surface, but some emerged into the public. However, there has never been a White House so openly antagonistic toward the media than Donald Trump’s.
Trump has not merely been dissatisfied with the coverage he’s received. He has resorted to personal insults and juvenile ridicule. His vilification has resulted in some reporters requiring additional security protection from his followers. Even worse, he deliberately strives to undermine the public trust in the only profession directly protected by the Constitution. Trump famously maligned our free press, calling it “the enemy of the American people.”
These dangerous and unpatriotic tantrums began even before election day. But they intensified after he was inaugurated. And they continue to this day with his tedious and unwarranted whining about so-called “fake” news. So with more than a year of disparaging commentaries and unbridled contempt, what does Trump have to show for it? The latest polling from Reuters/Ipsos summarizes it like this:
“The poll of more than 14,300 people found that the percentage of adults who said they had a ‘great deal’ or ‘some’ confidence in the press rose to 48 percent in September from 39 percent last November.”
In the past year, amid relentless rhetorical abuse, the public trust in the media increased by nine points. Which means that the American people pointedly ignored Trump’s ravings and embraced the press more strongly than ever. For this to happen despite the bellicosity of Trump and his surrogates is a hard slap in the face for the President. Clearly his self-serving, anti-media opinions were of no interest to most people. And this poll affirms the result of previous polls that came to the same conclusions. Even when put up against the specific news organizations he most detests (CNN, the New York Times, etc.) he wound up the loser.
In addition to these findings, the Reuters poll also revealed that the public trust in Trump declined significantly. That decline occurred simultaneously to the rise for trust in the press. Trump’s high of fifty-two percent was marked at his inauguration in January. It subsequently sunk to forty-eight percent in this poll. That includes a six point drop among Republicans. Reuters didn’t poll an approval rating for Trump in this survey, but Gallup has Trump near his all-time low (34%) at thirty-seven percent.
The abject failure of Trump’s anti-media campaign has not deterred him from persisting with nasty, unsupported assaults on Twitter. Wednesday morning he lashed out at the press calling it dishonest and hilariously asking for an apology. And then he unleashed this tweet that contains a bit of unintentional truth:
Wow, so many Fake News stories today. No matter what I do or say, they will not write or speak truth. The Fake News Media is out of control!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 4, 2017
Indeed. The American people do have a persistent problem with whatever he does or says. Except contrary to his yammering about fake news, what they object to is him and his unabating stream of bullshit. His complaint can be condensed into throwing fits over any criticism directed at him and his failed administration. And unfortunately for him, there seems to be a never-ending supply of ignorance and incompetence to criticize. You might say he’s out of control.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.