Jonathan Chait over at the The Plank, the New Republic’s blog, takes issue with the conservatives at RedState.org, who he says are acting smug about the findings of a WE media Global Forum poll on media bias.
The poll, which surveyed 10,230 adults in the UK, U.S., Brazil, Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Russia, and South Korea, finds that, as RedState writes “Americans gave their own media the worst score in the world on the question concerning “Reports all sides of story.” A whopping 69% of Americans disagreed that the media reports all sides. Only the UK (at 64%) comes close to harboring this sentiment.”
Overall, among the nations polled, Americans turn out to be the most skeptical about the accuracy and fairness of their media organizations, to which RedState concludes,
This is comforting news indeed to those on the right who worry that media organizations staffed almost entirely by Democrat-leaning reporters and editors give Democratic candidates an unfair advantage. When more than two-thirds of Americans do not trust the media to report both sides, the Democratic-leaning bias of the media may even backfire as voters apply ‘windage’ to correct for the perceived lack of balance.
Chait takes issue with this narrow view, firing back that
I would venture to guess that if the bloggers at redstate, or any other conservative media activists, spent some time in Egypt with the benefit of translators they would discover that it’s even worse than The New York Times, if they can imagine such a thing…Perhaps the fact that high numbers of Americans see their media as biased is evidence not of bias per se but of the existence of a loud and persistent coterie of conservative activists and politicians asserting as much over along period of time.
But there’s more to this than either side has admitted so far. The Right doesn’t hold monopoly on media bashing. Plenty of liberal blogs, Atrios chief among them, (but let’s not forget the Huffington Post’s or Kos’s constant media bashing), also take the “MSM” to the cleaners on a daily basis for underreporting the misdeeds of the Bush administration.
So, while conservatives have perfected the media-hating game, many liberals have learned the lesson well, and can go toe-to-toe with conservative critics on any given topic.
What’s more, while RedState seems to think the poll shows that Americans are sick of the “liberal media,” the facts don’t necessarily support this conclusion. The report actually shows that “trust in media” has increased over the last four years in the United States from 52 percent to 59 percent. What’s more, Fox News and CNN tied as the most trusted media brands cited by American respondents without prompting, with 11 percent each. The next highest was ABC, at 4 percent.
Given that, it seems RedState is imposing its own views on the report’s findings. Could it be that, despite claims to the contrary, Americans really trust Fox News just as much as they trust the hated, liberal apologists of the “MSM”?