Millions of Americans scratched their heads over the Big Media reactions to the recent State of the Union address. Clearly, a majority of Americans liked the address. Two instant polls by the Big Media (CNN and CBS) each found that 76 percent of viewers approved of President Trump’s address. That is an impressively high rating for this annual address.
Nobody is arguing that maybe 76 percent of viewers have fallen in love with their president. But a few things are abundantly clear. Most viewers approved of what they saw and heard.
Suppose you missed the State of the Union address. You did not see it or read about it. But you tuned in to the network shows immediately afterward. And you read a few big newspapers next morning. You would probably conclude the speech was a flop.
NBC’s Chuck Todd blasted it as “absurdist theater.” Actually, he declared such before the president spoke. No bias there.
Despite its poll numbers showing 76 percent of viewers approved, CNN’s political director, David Chalian, on screen, pooh-pooed those numbers and that poll — because the viewers included more Republicans than Democrats. But 82 percent of independents approved of the speech. Significant, but let’s not talk about them.
MSNBC featured a lineup of Trump critics. Joy Reid called the speech “grandiose and over the top.” Chris Matthews belittled the president’s criticism of socialism and its failures.
Then he praised, repeatedly, the Democrat response to the address. The one by Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, who failed last fall as a candidate for governor. She was heartfelt, inspiring, very impressive, patriotic, happy, basic, and optimistic, says Matthews. Perfect, pass the thesaurus. He ran dry of adjectives with which to praise her.
Also on the panel was Yamiche Alcindor, who gushed about Abrams. She talked about the president not telling the truth.
Former senator Barbara Boxer called Abrams response brilliant. And compared Trump to Jack the Ripper. Literally.
NBC’s disgraced former Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, now relegated to MSNBC, lit into Trump for his “graphic language” on abortion.
Lester Holt, the current Nightly News anchor, introduced us to the State of the Union address with dreary talk of shutdowns, investigations, and more.
NBC’s website welcomed readers with “On Trump’s big State of the Union applause line, the sound of silence was stunning.” And “This country flipped for Trump. Two years on, the enthusiasm may be waning.”
CNN’s website hosted lengthy comments from 13 prominent social and political observers. There was barely a word of praise among them.
CNN’s Van Jones called the State of the Union address “a psychotically incoherent speech with cookies and dog poop.”
Meanwhile, the New York Times headline said: “A Message of Unity From an Agent of Discord. Let’s see how long it lasts.” It wrote about “fictitious alter egos” of Trump’s that were exposed in the address. The Washington Post depicted the address in similar bleak and negative terms.
On and on they went — downward. One after another, Big Media folks belittled or criticized the president and his address. One after another sang the praises of his opposition.
This is why the American public thinks so little of Big Media. They expect opinion. They expect lack of enthusiasm from liberals when a political opponent is on stage. But they also expect some attempt at balance. They wish for a few signs of objective coverage. Instead, they get wall–to–wall negative opinion.
Millions of Americans reckon Big Media distorts what they see and hear. They reckon accurately. They remember the televised presidential debates. They recall that when big majorities of viewers called one debater the winner, Big Media declared the other one the victor.
Viewers know that networks pack their panels with bias. The networks give the opposition sweet little air time.
After many instances of this bias, Americans have lost trust in Big Media. Numerous polls confirm the distrust.
‘Tis a case of who are you gonna believe? What you see and hear? Or what Big Media tell you that you saw and heard?
Tom Morgan writes about political, financial, and other subjects from his home in upstate New York. He has a new novel out, called “The Last Columnist,” which is available on Amazon. Contact Tom at email@example.com, read more of his writing at tomasinmorgan.com, or find him on Facebook.