by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
No kid wants to come home with a report card that has more Ds and Fs than As and Bs. It usually means punishment: a ban on TV or video games, and lots more hard work. The Big Media have once again received flunking grades for their own subpar performance in covering the news. But if it bothers them, it sure doesn’t show.
In February’s I&I/TIPP Poll, we asked what responsibility the media bear for the nation’s current high level of political and cultural polarization, a continuing theme in our own recent polls and outside studies.
Americans, to be blunt, are not feeling very charitable toward the media. The numbers are pretty shocking. Three-quarters (74%) believe the country is divided and only 21% think it is united. According to the poll chart, 78% of those who believe the country is divided believe the media is “somewhat” or “very” to blame for the current polarization of American public discourse. Only 17% said “not very” or “not at all.”
Also in the February I&I/TIPP Poll, we asked average Americans to grade the media on how well they cover — or fail to cover — certain major, hot-button events that have taken place in recent months and years, but that received only scant or highly selective media coverage.
Those events include: Donald Trump’s presidency, the January 6 demonstrations in Washington, D.C., the Jussie Smollett case, Hunter Biden’s questionable business dealings, and Ashli Babbitt’s death. There’s really no surprise here: The media flunk across the board, with more Ds and Fs than As and Bs. …
… Trump presidency: 30% A or B, 45% D or F, 7% “not sure.” It’s no surprise that 53% of Republicans flunked the media, or that 49% of independents did. But even 38% of Democrats felt the media failed to do their job in covering Trump, while just 36% gave them the highest grades.