I read in the newspaper that only 20% of Americans trust what they read in the newspaper:
According to a recent CNN/ORC poll, only 43 percent of Americans believe Donald Trump to be honest and trustworthy with even fewer (30 percent) describing Hillary Clinton as honest. Whichever candidate wins, we’re facing four years under a president the majority of Americans don’t trust.
But, in some ways, the more important (and more long-term) credibility problem lies elsewhere. Distrust of the media, growing for quite some time, has hit record levels. According to an American Press Institute study released last April, only 6 percent of Americans say they have a great deal of trust in the press, with 41 percent saying they have hardly any confidence at all in the media. More bad news from June’s Gallup survey: Only 20 percent of Americans say they trust what they read in the newspaper [Art Marmorstein, “In Political Strategy, All Are Luciferians Now,” Aberdeen American News, 2016.08.11].
The fact the my local newspaper is willing to print Marmorstein’s indictment of their own trustworthiness suggests that we can trust the local newspaper to print a better picture of the facts than our Presidential candidates.
Yet Marmorstein seems committed to distracting us from politicians’ flaws—well, from one politician’s flaws—by focusing on newspapers’ flaws. He calls into question all the “fact-checking” (Marmorstein uses mock quotes) newspapers do by pointing to one example from Snopes.com… which is a website, not a newspaper. Marmorstein picks at Snopes’s critique of Ben Carson’s ludicrous claim that Hillary Clinton is a disciple of Saul Alinksy and thus of Lucifer. (The claim was “oblique,” said Pulitzer-Prize-winning Politifact, but false, reported the New York Times in 2007, since Clinton repudiated Alinsky’s central point of activism through outside protest back when she was just Rodham and pursued change within the system.)
Marmorstein says something about “selection bias” undermining the reliability of newspaper fact-checking. Yet his selection bias, picking one absurd charge against Hillary Clinton and portraying it as even somewhat truthful and instructive, placing Ben Carson’s oblique charges of satanism over factual reporting, feels like another glaring example of the wild excusification to which conservatives are driven in this election.
“Credibility is a bottom-line issue for the media,” writes Marmorstein, “essential to retaining and attracting readers/viewers and the ad dollars they bring with them.” Absolutely true. We the press (the professionals at the Aberdeen American News as well as the amateur here up the street at Dakota Free Press world headquarters) have nothing to offer but our honesty and integrity. It is no wonder that Presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has exhibited blatant dishonesty and disregard for integrity, feels compelled to brand the press as “the world’s most dishonest people” (another atrocious statement from Tuesday’s incredible “Second Amendment people” speech). Credibility should be a bottom-line issue for the President of the United States. Donald Trump has no credibility. He can only win if he destroys the credibility of the press that dutifully points out the evidence of his lack of credibility.
Yet the press soldiers on, giving people like Trump and Marmorstein the opportunity to express their views and hoping we can sort out the truth.