Republicans are skeptical about any story about Donald Trump. The Pew Research Center survey of more than 6,000 adults found that Republicans distrust what they see and hear in the media more than Democrats. This is consistent with the criticisms of their leader, who ironically has been caught in 10,000 misrepresentations — some say lies — since taking office.
Trump fans write letters to the editor about the whiners who have not accepted the last election results. Get over it, is a common refrain.
Talk about all the good and wonderful things he has done. Ask Sarah Sanders or any of the survivors of his administrative appointments. The election is over. Trump won.
Here’s the problem: The last election is over, but Trump has already declared he is running now, a candidate for re-election in 2020. So the press is not only covering the chaos of the Trump administration’s activities, but the turmoil the candidate is creating to stir up his base for the next vote.
He has hinted that he will not give up the keys to the White House even if he were to lose the 2020 election, because the press has been “very very unfair to me” and he deserves more time.
He wants to be acclaimed dictator and he has followers who would agree to it. That is news.
For those in the faithful Trumpster nation, anything negative about the man who boasted that he could shoot someone in the middle of Times Square and still get elected is just plain unfair. Any story that calls attention to recorded comments about grabbing women by their sexual organs is biased.
They are more apt to blame the media for fake news; the Democrats and their independent friends think most of the problem lies with politicians. Having established that, 53% of all those polled say it is up to the media to curtail the amount of fake news.
So that means even though 68% of adults think the current situation is a “bigger problem than sexism, racism, illegal immigration or terrorism,” more than half say it should be fixed by the members of the media, and not politicians.
What the public perceives is inconsistent; nothing new there. Saul Bellow, Nobel laureate, wrote, “A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.”
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The independent news media understands how thin is the thread that binds the multiple components of a free and diverse culture together into one functioning system of self-government by the many.
Another editor and writer, Lewis Lapham, seemed to define America’s perch on the edge of a precipice with this comment: “A society that presumes a norm of violence and celebrates aggression, whether in the subway, on the football field, or in the conduct of business cannot help making celebrities of the people who would destroy it.”
The effect of the power of celebrity got Trump the attention he craved to have power, and he used that personality power to gather a following.
The press called him out but underestimated the attraction of one candidate in a large field of Republican candidates in the last presidential election.
Now we have two dozen candidates running for the Democrat nomination. More than half of those seem to be counting on the power of personality to gain a place on the ballot.
Will the public fall once again for style over substance? And if it does — if the media’s dissolution into a cacophonic gabble of show-biz opinion panels keeps the public from hearing or trusting facts — what will happen to the great American experiment in democracy?
Another poll recently showed that 70% of nations surveyed in 2018 expressed no confidence in President Trump to do the right thing in world affairs.