If there’s one casualty of the coronavirus crisis that’s likely to carry forward, it’s the media’s credibility.
And rarely has a product for the public damaged itself more than the preening, pompous nitpickers of the national news who’ve been using a potential catastrophe to stroke their own egos and politically damage the president.
But the American people appear to be onto the game.
According to a Monmouth University poll released Monday, President Donald Trump is rated higher than the media when it comes to questions about who is responding to the crisis more responsibly.
Fifty percent of Americans say Trump has done a good job dealing with the outbreak versus 45 percent who say he’s done a bad job, the poll reported.
Meanwhile, 45 percent of those polled said the media had done a good job, versus 43 percent who said the media was doing a bad job.
Since the poll’s margin of error was 3.4 percent, it’s pretty clear that Trump has more credibility than the nation’s biased media — at least on a poll taken from March 18-22.
An exchange that took place Friday between Trump and NBC’s Peter Alexander was an excellent example of the situation.
The big headline, of course, was Trump telling Alexander “you’re a terrible reporter,” on national television — and that was the clip that dominated social media.
But for the many Americans who saw the run-up to Trump’s statement, who saw Alexander’s nattering, badgering questions that sounded more like an insolent teenager in a sex-ed class than a professional reporter on the nation’s biggest stage, Trump’s response was well deserved.
To any honest American who’s watched the news coverage of the Trump presidency, the only thing surprising about that is that 45 percent of the greatest country on earth is clearly made up of clueless rubes who enjoy being led around by the nose – not to mention lied to and manipulated.
The New York Times, the willfully deceptive “newspaper of record” and the favorite news outlet of liberals everywhere, provided a sterling example of news media perfidy on Sunday when it changed the headline on a news story twice to make it sound less threatening to Senate Democrats, according to Breitbart.
The story itself was passable, detailing the Democrat-inspired Senate impasse Sunday that stopped a bill aimed at providing relief for American families in the midst of the coronavirus economic standstill.
It was obviously weighted toward Democrats, but no more than usual in a Times piece.
The headline choice, however, was a different story.
As social media users and the Trump campaign noted, the headline was edited repeatedly with the clear result of making it appear less obvious that Democrats were standing in the way of the government bringing help to Americans in need.
The first headline summarized the story and its lede accurately: “Democrats Block Action on $1.8 Trillion Stimulus.”
The second carried the same message, but tried to provide a way for Democrats to look less cruel: “Democrats Block Action on Stimulus Plan, Seeking Worker Protection.”
But that apparently showed the Democrats being the obstructionists they are, so the Gray Lady changed her tune again, coming up with a third headline that took “Democrats” completely out of the equation, substituting an even-handed “Partisan Divide” to be the bad guy.
“Partisan Divide Threatens Deal on Rescue Bill,” The Times reported.
Nobody’s fault there at all.
Now, in fairness, the final headline The Times arrived at – the one that was on the story as of 5 p.m. EST on Monday, did have an element of Democratic fault, though buried at the end: “Emergency Economic Rescue Plan in Limbo as Democrats Block Action.”
But what happened leading up to that point is pretty clear.
As it has before, The Times changed a headline digitally after publication for what can only be seen as partisan purposes. Back in August, it was to make Trump look worse. On Sunday, it was to make Democrats look better.
But it’s getting harder for The Times to get away with manipulation like that.
One astute reader in particular drew attention to it – Trump himself.
As always, his Twitter account was a sea of smart-mouthed liberals responding, probably considering themselves courageous for having the guts to shoot off insults at the leader of the free world. (The sheer immaturity of it is astounding, even after all this time.)
But clearly, as the Monmouth poll showed, Twitter accounts aren’t the real world.
At the end of the Obama presidency, it was difficult to imagine that the American news media could debase itself much further than it did as the fawning lapdog to an incipient tyrant for eight years.
With the Trump presidency in its fourth year, it was difficult to imagine a news media could be pimped out even further by the Democratic Party, then the coronavirus struck and the media is learning all new tricks.
The idea at all times, of course, has been to damage Trump politically in an attempt to hand the presidency to the Democrats and the faltering hands of former Vice President Joe Biden after November’s election.
News of The Times headline shuffle came after the Monmouth poll was taken, but it could only have added to the general impression of distrust every thinking American should maintain about the country’s once-proud journalistic institutions.
The American media started killing its own credibility long ago, but accelerated the murderous process during the Trump years. The coronavirus crisis just might be the thing to kill it off.