How do you cover a poll that shows satisfaction with the economy, despite all the harrumphing about an impending recession, is much higher than it ever was under President Barack Obama? Or reveals that views on race relations are actually better today than three years ago? Or shows that most think the political system is being shaken up in a good way?
Answer: You don’t. That is, if you’re a mainstream media outlet and the poll is your own.
Here’s the scary headline NBC News ran on the poll it conducted with the Wall Street Journal and published over the weekend: “’A deep and boiling anger’: NBC/WSJ poll finds a pessimistic America despite current economic satisfaction.”
The really important finding, according to NBC, was that “70% of Americans say they’re angry at the political establishment.”
But it turns out that this anger level is unchanged since October 2015. That means the “deep and boiling anger” was happening under Obama. Why isn’t that the headline?
Sure, you can say that the anger has continued under Trump. But the story we’ve been told repeatedly for two years is that Trump is responsible for the current climate of hatred and discord. The fact that the poll debunks this narrative is newsworthy.
The NBC reporters covering their own poll ignore another newsworthy finding. More people feel good about race relations today than they did under Obama.
Yes, you read that correctly.
The poll found that more than a third (36%) say that relations between races are very or fairly good. That’s hardly a great number. But it’s up from 24% in July 2016, after nearly eight years of Obama.
Even more shocking, 36% of Hispanics rate race relations as good, which is up from 23% in July 2016.
When an unexpected finding like that emerges from a poll, journalists would — under normal circumstances — judge it newsworthy.
But, because this particular finding runs counter to the liberal media narrative that Trump is sowing racial hatred, NBC ignores it. Instead, it focuses on the finding that 56% think race relations have gotten worse under Trump.
That’s not good news, either, but it’s not as bad as NBC wants people to think. After all, the public felt exactly the same under Obama. A CNN poll taken in 2016 found that 54% said race relations had worsened under Obama. A Rasmussen poll that year found that 60% of likely voters thought relations between races had deteriorated over the prior eight years. Gallup found that the share of blacks who felt race relations were good plunged from 66% in 2013 to 49% in 2016.
There’s another finding that, if it weren’t for the media’s absolute disdain of Trump, would be newsworthy. The poll asked whether those surveyed felt “satisfied that our political system is being shaken up and those who have been ignored for too long are now being heard and put first.”
Given how Democrats and the mainstream press describe the current administration — as helping rich, greedy corporations at the expense of working families — you’d think that few would agree with the sentiment. Yet 52% did. NBC ignores this finding as well.
When the media can’t even report on their own findings with any degree of reliability, what does that say about stories where they have a less direct connection to the facts?
— Written by John Merline
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