You don't have to be conservative to think the media is out for Donald Trump. Both sides, a new survey shows, think the press is trying to drag on this shutdown to hurt the president's chances in November. Turns out, there is something all of America can agree on: the country doesn't trust the media as much as it thought.
Over at the Media Research Center, this is hardly a surprise. Brent Bozell's group has been tracking the unprecedented hostility toward Trump since 2016 -- a record-breaking amount of bias that's racked up 90-percent negative coverage. But unfortunately, John McLaughlin pointed out on "Washington Watch," people are still swayed by the media's reports. If they only caught the news about the coronavirus briefings -- and not the briefings themselves -- their reaction to the president was overwhelmingly negative. If they watched the briefings themselves and cut out the middleman, they were two-to-one positive on the administration's response.
That's a huge problem, John told Sarah Perry, when you consider that the media says things that simply aren't true. Just look at the riot headlines. "They'll say...the rioters were tear-gassed and shot with rubber bullets outside the White House -- when it was it was smoke canisters and not rubber bullets." Or they'll refuse to tell the stories that are actually making a difference -- like the economy's surprising rebound.
"The president's programs are working," John insisted. "And they really have put in place an economic program where the country will be able to recover from the impact of the coronavirus... The [unemployment] number was a surprise to a lot of people... and certainly a relief for a lot of Americans who need jobs." But the media, he shook his head, would rather talk about something else. "They would rather see people suffer and be out of work then than consider the fact that Donald Trump could be reelected. And we're seeing that right now in everything they do."
The media coverage may be transparently partisan, but what about polling numbers? How seriously should we take those, especially as the president rides this roller-coaster of approval ratings? McLaughlin, who was one of the few who predicted a Trump win in 2016, thinks a lot of the stats we're seeing now are the result of under-polling.
"They continue to poll adults or registered voters that skew away from likely voters," McLaughlin told President Trump. "So instead of a 33 percent Republican turnout which actually happened in 2020, they are reporting polls on only 26, 25, or even 24 percent of Republicans," he said before comparing a CNN poll with a CBS News one that found a much tighter race between Trump and Joe Biden. "The bias seems to be an intentional strategy to suppress your vote," McLaughin warned, and "manufacture an anti-Trump outcome."
In other words, more outlets are using polls to shape American views, not reflect them. Of course, at the end of the day, the polls won't matter nearly as much as the turnout does. And in the most important election in history, what will matter isn't what the pundits say -- but what you do.
For more on the progress that hangs in the balance this November, check out FRC Action's "Trump Administration Accomplishments."