This can’t help the mainstream media’s already battered reputation or it’s constant claim of objective political reporting:
Likely voters, by a five-to-one margin, believe that America’s media is in President Obama’s pocket and will treat his candidacy better than challenger Mitt Romney’s as the election nears, according to a new Rasmussen Reports poll.
The startling numbers point to an even more disturbing trend for the media: Reporters just aren’t trusted to deliver the news in an unbiased fashion. The proof: Rasmussen found that when it comes to information about the presidential campaign, 48 percent of likely voters trust friends and family while just 26 percent trust reporters.
In fact, it’s even worse than those two lead paragraphs in the story:
The poll found that 59 percent of likely voters believe that the media has given Obama better treatment than Romney, a view Team Obama doesn’t agree with. Just 18 percent believe the media has treated Romney better.
Whether or not “Team Obama” agrees is irrelevant. In politics, perception is reality. And the reality is a large majority of likely voters (the key demographic) find the media both bias and wanting in terms of fair, objective and balanced political reporting.
So what is the impact of this?
Well, for one, tuning the media out. Few people are likely to keep listening to or watching coverage don’t trust. One of the reasons for the rise of the new media is it provides an important “other side” to the coverage of politics.
Despite their protestations to the contrary, the mainstream media has been unable to convince almost 60% of the likely voters they’re unbiased and trustworthy. That has to come from somewhere when you talk those numbers. And it is unlikely it is only a figment of that 60%’s imagination. They see the bias as real and they don’t like it or trust what they consider the biased outlets.
If you’re wondering why CNN’s numbers are at an all time low or why newspapers are failing this is part of it. Meanwhile the new media is thriving. It may not be objective, but readers and viewers know that, because new media outlets make no bones about it. What these outlets provide is “the rest of the story”. And when the rest of the story comes out, and all the facts are on the table, not just what the mainstream media chose to use, it makes the mainstream medias bias apparent.
Another reason the mainstream media is considered to be in Obama’s pocket is that instead of asking hard questions and follow up, and researching a story, they’ve become a transcription service. Whatever the campaign or White House put out is dutifully published or announced with little or any questioning. When that is shot full of holes by blogs and on-line news services and pundits, they again look to be biased (when, in many cases, they’re just not doing their job).
The question, of course, is with almost 60% of likely voters believing that the mainstream media is in Obama’s pocket, what effect will that have on the election.
In the past the media has, of course, played a large role in helping determine who the next president would be. Will the 60% disregard and ignore the media? Will they treat it as a propaganda arm of the campaign and seek their information elsewhere? Because of the perception held by a majority of the likely voters, will the media play a diminished role in this election?
All interesting and entertaining questions which we’ll have to monitor during this election cycle.
I remember years ago, after QandO got started and blogs began having some visibility and impact, media organizations sniffing down their arrogant noses at these upstarts who dared to question their dominance and reminding everyone the difference between some loser in the basement in his pajamas churning out his stuff and a professional organization, with trained journalists and 3 layers of editors.
Well as it turns out, that difference hasn’t mattered. The pajama clad are still around (and pretty well established now) and the professional organizations with trained journalists and 3 layers of editors have seen their reputations and followings dwindle.
You’d think, by now, they’d be clued into the ‘why’, but apparently its like economics to the left – it just doesn’t compute.