The American people hold the media in contempt. They’ve earned it.

The US media has earned the contempt of the public. And we need to keep pushing to show how biased they are.

James J. Wells : [to Megan] I think I know where we’re headed here. Before we get there, I want to say something to you: Now, you know and I know that we can’t tell you what to print – or what not to. We hope the press will act responsibly. But when you don’t, there ain’t a helluva lot anybody can do about it.

Assistant Attorney General James J. Wells (portrayed by the late Wilford Brimley) to reporter Megan Carter (Sally Fields)

Absence of Malice, 1981

With all due to Mr. Wells, there are things we can do. And they are happening. More on that in a few.

One of my favorite websites is Legal Insurrection. The writing is excellent, the issues are current, the pieces well. Whenever you have a major legal care ongoing (e.g., the trial of Derek Chauvin), you can expect a day by day through analysis of the events. Last week they had an awesome article on the 4th Estate, and what the American people think of them.

Gallup: “independents’ confidence” in mass media “is at the lowest point” ever

And: “Notably, this is the first time that the percentage of Americans with no trust at all in the media is higher than the percentage with a great deal or a fair amount combined.”

William A. Jacobson

Gallup just released its annual survey on trust in the mass media. Overall trust was just two points off the all-time low (emphasis added):

At 34%, Americans’ trust in the mass media to report the news “fully, accurately and fairly” is essentially unchanged from last year and just two points higher than the lowest that Gallup has recorded, in 2016 during the presidential campaign.

Just 7% of Americans have “a great deal” of trust and confidence in the media, and 27% have “a fair amount.” Meanwhile, 28% of U.S. adults say they do not have very much confidence and 38% have none at all in newspapers, TV and radio. Notably, this is the first time that the percentage of Americans with no trust at all in the media is higher than the percentage with a great deal or a fair amount combined.

It will surprise no one that a majority of Republicans have no trust whatsoever, and a majority of Democrats have a lot or fair amount of trust. There always has been this partisan divide but the divide widened dramatically after the 2016 presidential election.

Of course the 2016 election sharpened the divide. Anti-Trumpism in the media turned bias into outright manipulation. Perhaps more important for electoral purposes (since the mass media is Democrat media), Gallup finds that independents trust in mass media is at an all time low (emphasis added):

  • For the third straight year, the majority of Republicans indicate that they have no trust at all in the media. This figure jumped 10 percentage points in 2020 and has been at or near 60% since then. This year, 57% say they do not have any confidence, while 29% say they do not have very much.
  • At 27%, independents’ confidence is at the lowest point in the trend. This is also the first time that it has fallen below 30%. Meanwhile, 41% of independents say they have no trust at all and 32% do not have very much.
  • While the great deal/fair amount of confidence reading among Democrats has never fallen below the majority level, the proportion with a great deal of trust has not topped 26%, and it is currently well below that at 18%.

Democrat media is losing independents. It already lost Republicans. Only Democrats love the mass media…

Understandable, seeing Democrats are the media. When you have the head of the 1992 War Room and the Clinton minister of propaganda, George Stephanopoulos, hosting This Week, it shows a bias towards one side of the spectrum. Meet the Press was hosted by a liberal, the late Tim Russert. But he was know to be tough on both Democrats and Republicans. The same cannot be said of his successor, Chuck Todd. To say the least he is rather soft on Democrats, and will not tolerate dissent from party line. The greatest example is Todd is “not going to give time to climate deniers,” i.e., people who question if the ebb and flow of the climate, which has occurred for eons, has been caused by cow farts and CO2 (which is not a pollutant) gas emissions.

A truism I’ve learned over the years, respect and contempt are the flip sides of a coin. And they are both earned. Now, has the media earned respect, or contempt, in the last few decades. Let’s look at a few examples.

Former NBC host Brian Williams claimed in 2003 he was in a helicopter in Iraq when it was shot down. He later admitted that his memory was “false.” False. Ask someone who had a significant emotional event like a plane crash, or being involved in a shooting. These are experiences you don’t lose in the “fog of war.” Especially when you are not in war, but in the rear with the gear. His recollection was not “false,” it was a bold-faced lie.

Not to be outdone, our boy who cried wolf did it again. In 2005, New Orleans was decimated by Hurricane Katrina. Williams was in a very high end hotel in the French Quarter and claimed to have seen bodies floating next to the hotel. That is contradicted by the hotel manager, who made the point the water did not come up enough to float a body.

Former President Donald Trump has claimed the 2020 election was stolen. Not judging his claim, but I do observe one thing. In every newspaper article, TV report, radio report, the quote is the same. “Trump falsely claimed the election was stolen…” A judgement on the part of the 4th Estate, to be sure. But for some reason, “Governor” Stacey Abrams, who continually claims she won the 2018 Georgia governor’s election, and like Trump, has filed a lawsuit on the issue, is never quoted, “Abrams falsely claimed the election was stolen…”

Dan Rather was sacked from the CBS News chair in 2005 after putting out a false story during the 2004 presidential election, in a blatant attempt to help defeat incumbent President George W Bush. Rather claimed then Texas Air Guard Lieutenant Bush was “AWOL” for months in 1971/72 and used as “proof” several documents obtained from a former officer. The typed “memo’s to self” were quickly shown to be likely forgeries, as typewriters able to justify print were not widely used outside of newspapers and printing offices.

I saw a recent “article” from the Washington Post, showing how Joe Biden’s first two years have gone from highs and lows. Reading this “news article” makes me wonder if they are officially gas-lighters. The best is the first part of review of Biden 1.0 (hopefully never to have a 2.0)

Inside the successes, missteps and failures of Biden’s early presidency

The story of Biden’s first term so far is a roller coaster — complicated and contradictory, with remarkable achievements and enormous disappointment

President Biden gathered his advisers, with mounting frustration, as televised images and classified cables tracked in real time the unraveling of his long-planned withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Even fellow Democrats, friends he had known for years, had begun to criticize the chaotic withdrawal — the frenzied mobs at the airport, the desperate Afghans clinging to planes — and he didn’t understand why they weren’t appearing on television to defend him and his decision…

Perhaps it’s because these people could not defend the indefensible. This was a national humiliation ranking with Vietnam and the 444-day Iran Hostage Crisis. For a man who promised “quiet competence,” this sounds like deafening incompetence.

The rest of the article goes on how Biden showed leadership in his reaction to the Russian invasion of the Ukraine (leadership would have prevented it, see Ricard Nixon stopping Soviet intervention in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War), how he got a black woman (who can’t define “woman”) appointed to the Supreme Court, and trillions of dollars spent for one boondoggle after another. But things not covered include Mr. Biden’s mental illness (if doctors wo never examined Trump can make a prognosis, so can doctors who have not examined Biden), his weaponizing of the IRS and FBI against political enemies, having the Department of Justice target parents at school board meetings, and the disaster at the southern border.

Guys, you start to earn respect by doing your job. You can put Biden’s “accomplishments” (if you want to call them that), but show the long list of failures (see a small list above). That is, at least notionally, your job. Do it.

Back to Mr. Wells’ comment above, yes, there are thing we can do about the media acting in a, to put it generously, an irresponsible way. Cut off their funding by cutting off their subscriptions and ratings. Go to other sources, (Breitbart, Just the News, AFNN.US). Refuse to do business with their advertisers. The left has been using these tactics for decades. We need to use them on the left.

Michael A. Thiac is a retired Army intelligence officer, with over 23 years experience, including serving in the Republic of Korea, Japan, and the Middle East. He is also a retired police patrol sergeant, with over 22 years’ service, and over ten year’s experience in field training of newly assigned officers. He has been published at The American Thinker,, and on his personal blog, A Cop’s Watch.

Opinions expressed are his alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of current or former employers.

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2 thoughts on “The American people hold the media in contempt. They’ve earned it.”

  1. A major problem with Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice being used as a branch of the Biden campaign/ DNC is that honest brokers like James J. Wells, the character played by Wilford Brimley, no longer exist there. Otherwise, they’d be asking everyone at FBI headquarters and main Justice “What’d you figure you’d do after government service?”.

  2. I agree. When you say, “Guys, you start to earn respect by doing your job.”, you are asking cows to fly. It will never happen. Look at the coverage today of the debacle of a debate between Fetterwoman and Dr. Oz last night. Fetterwoman’s opening remark was, “Hi, goodnight everbody”. It was all downhill from there. Fetterwoman made not one coherent statement the entire night. Not one. He was frequently saved by the moderators stopping his babbling responses that were completely unintelligible. Yet two weeks ago, a journalist, Dasha Burns, was burned at the stake by her fellow “journalists” for saying out loud what we all witnessed last night, that Fedderwoman is incoherent and unable to assemble any reasonable thoughts. I checked today’s websites of ABC, NBC and CBS “News” and the spinning of the debate would make Pravda, Izvestia and The People’s Daily blush with pride. Trump is right , the Fake News is the enemy of the people. That will not change in our lifetime. Like you, we just have to keep pointing that out.

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