Trump, the public, and the press

Axios reports believable if depressing results from an on-line poll of nearly 5000 people by Survey Monkey conducted June 30 - July 3. In brief, Republicans by 89 to 9 percent trust President Trump more than the news network CNN, while adult Americans in general trust CNN more than Trump by 50 to 43. Independents prefer CNN by 55 to 40 and Democrats by 91 to 5. (The remaining few percent didn't have an opinion.)

CNN has its problems, from obsessive coverage of single Big Stories to some sloppiness in its reports in specialized fields, but we're talking about relative trust here, and it's hard to see how anyone can rate Trump more reliable than CNN. It's a major problem for American democracy when people don't just have differing opinions but differing conceptions of reality. I don't mean to suggest that Democrats are necessarily well-informed about everything either, but ...

(Incidentally, while on-line polls in general can be questionable and subject to manipulation, Survey Monkey takes steps to avoid those problems and has a respectable track record, for example producing the most accurate polling on the Brexit vote in the UK, according to fiverthirtyeight.com. For more on Survey Monkey see this article from the Los Angeles Times.)

Meanwhile, Politico reports that condemnation of the news media by Trump and others has led international organizations such as the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press -- which normally address threats to reporting by governments and criminals in other countries -- to express concerns about dangers to reporters here in the United States from people who believe the media are deliberately lying to them.

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Trump, the public, and the press — 1 Comment

  1. I've been thinking about this phenomenon recently, since realizing that I am one of the villains in the comic book running inside a co-worker's mind. They are absolutely fixated on the idea that, because two doors at work were accidentally left locked a week apart, I and other co-workers are conspiring to make their life miserable. And nothing -- NOTHING -- will alter or change that conclusion. (There's quite a bit more to this story, but I'll leave that aside for now.)

    (Are things a little tense at work right now? You could say that. I'm taking anti-anxiety meds for the first time since retiring from USPS in 2008, and considering leaving an employer that's been one of the best I've ever had until this person was hired a few months ago. It's not just the constant walking on eggshells to try and avoid another screaming fit and wild accusation, it's painful watching anyone so consistently and determinedly destroy any respect coworkers had for them.)

    I've decided that some people view the world thru a Lens of Villainy, where villains and conspiracies and plots are literally the only things they can see. Why they want to accept living in that comic book world is... complicated. But mostly it seems that the simplicity of living in a black-&-white world, even one that's a constant horror of outrage and ire and mistrust, is preferable to the complexity of real life, with all its ambiguity and multitude of viewpoints and choices. For some people, looking at the world thru shit-tinted glasses is a comfort. And boy, that's a scary thought.

    (Disclosure: Part of my thinking on this has been realizing that there have been times in the past when I've looked thru that Lens of Villainy myself. Gotta think about that some more.)

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