During Donald Trump’s candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, the HuffingtonPost marked every news item about him with a disclaimer describing him as a “serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, obstetrician and tyrant.
Four years later, CNN anchor Brian Stelter told NPR that he rejected the “two-way trap” because he wanted to “be proud of the way I reported on the Trump presidency. He also admitted that CNN journalists, in the name of “truth and decency,” were leading more opinion monologues (usually against Trump) than before.
Conservatives have another name for it: the bias of the liberal media, and since Joe Biden won the popular vote (if not more), many also said that this election pierced the core of the idea of a fair mainstream press, and there is no looking back.
Even the CNN chyron, the scroll bar at the bottom of the screen once reserved for reporting breaking news, has prevailed. In July, for example, one read: “Trump says he was hard on Russia. Nah,” and another was: “Trump claims for no reason that 99% of Covid 19 cases are ‘harmless’. A month later, on the same subject, it was said: “Trump says he was hard on Russia: “Trump shows a lack of understanding, delusions about tests.
These are the kinds of things that led Trump to denounce many stories in various places as “fake news”, and Tuesday’s election probably means that the accusation resonated with almost half of the voters “who have given the media a middle finger,” conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza told Washington Newsday.
Conservatives also point out that CNN – which is generally considered to be in the middle compared to Fox News with its right-wing commentators and MSNBC with its left-wing commentators – allowed two of its contributors, John Kasich and Andrew Yang, to speak at the Democratic National Convention, while Ana Navarro (sometimes referred to on CNN as a “Republican strategist”) hosted a Joe Biden event in August. And a decade ago, Jeff Zucker, CNN’s top executive, hosted a fundraiser for Senator Kamala Harris.
On MSNBC, Joy Reid probably did her station no favors on Wednesday – assuming his goal was to at least be respectful to the other side – when she belittled Judge Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court as “Uncle Clarence”. Conservatives were quick to call her remarks “disgusting” and “racist,” and black radio host Larry Elder, who made a movie called “Uncle Tom” this year, tweeted: “Note that her ‘bright’ colleagues on @MSNBC have not said anything.
Then there were the numerous polls that predicted Biden would win the presidency easily, rather than in a brand new vote count lasting several days, prompting Conservatives to re-examine the media’s alleged bias.
The media and the Democrats largely dismissed the 2020 election as a referendum on Trump’s first term in office, hammering it home that he had mishandled a pandemic that had killed more than 230,000 people and triggered the deepest recession since the Great Depression.
Throughout his term, Trump faced relentless negative media coverage of his character, behavior and policies, including a two-year investigation into allegations that he and his associates conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election in his favor. Last year he was indicted for abuse of power.
Such unprecedentedly hostile media coverage should have deterred the voters and helped to elect his rival in a landslide victory. Instead, more people voted for Trump than for any other presidential candidate except Biden, and the president expanded his base to include all major ethical and gender groups except white men.
Rush Limbaugh was one of those who, after the election, suggested that pollsters in alliance with the media had done their job by ensuring that Trump’s allegations of irregularities fell largely on deaf ears because Biden’s lead in the polls was so large at the beginning. Some also said that the one-sided polls encouraged fences to hand in their ballots for Biden so that they would be on the winning side.
Speaking of polls, a Gallup poll in September showed that only 9 percent of Americans have “a lot of trust” in the media, while 31 percent have “a lot of trust” in the media, and