Many Americans will check the media today to see who “won” the Presidential debate.
And they will wonder if they watched the same debate as everyone else.
The Presidential election has exposed a rapidly growing fault line in American democracy – media bias.
A biennial report recently released by the Knight Foundation and Gallup Poll found that 73% of Americans consider media bias to be a “major problem,” a whopping increase of 65% in just two years.
The report found that 86% of Americans think news coverage is distorted by political bias. Of these, 49% see a “great deal” of political bias in news coverage, an increase of 45% since 2017, and 37% see a “fair amount” of political bias in news coverage.
Eight in ten Americans think news organizations are no longer reporting the news but trying to persuade the public to adopt a particular viewpoint.
Three quarters of Americans are worried that media owners are willfully influencing their companies’ coverage.
Hunter Biden Laptop
The bias is evident with respect to ongoing campaign coverage and especially with how the media is covering the scandal involving Hunter Biden’s laptop, which contains emails indicating Biden took a cut of payments from his son for business deals in Ukraine and China while he was vice president.
Hunter Biden’s former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, confirmed Thursday that VP Biden was the “big guy” who Hunter Biden planned to give 10% of proceeds from a business deal in China.
The Bobulinski development was not reported in some of America’s top newspapers, including The New York Times and The Washington Post.
Meanwhile, supposed “fact checkers” for The New York Times wrote this about who won Thursday night’s Presidential debate:
“President Donald Trump unleashed a relenting series of false, misleading and exaggerated statements as he sought to distort former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.’s record and positions and boost his own re-election hopes.” (This is fact checking?)
The Washington Post led with a story Friday on Trump’s loan payments coming due “as Trump fights for his future in politics and business.”
According to the Knight/Gallop report, large majorities say it is “critical” or “very important” for the news media to provide accurate and fair news reports (92%), ensure Americans are informed about public affairs (91%) and hold leaders accountable for their actions (85%).
But what happens when media outlets eschew their traditional role and, instead, become lobbyists for special interests?
The Knight/Gallup report is called American Views 2020; Trust, Media and Democracy.