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Jonathan Easley, The Hill
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Christopher Jacobs, The Federalist
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Poll: Just 6 Percent of People Say They Trust the Media

WASHINGTON (AP) — Trust in the news media is being eroded by perceptions of inaccuracy and bias, fueled in part by Americans’ skepticism about what they read on social media.

Just 6 percent of people say they have a lot of confidence in the media, putting the news industry about equal to Congress and well below the public’s view of other institutions. In this presidential campaign year, Democrats were more likely to trust the news media than Republicans or independents.

But trust today also goes beyond the traditional journalistic principles of accuracy, balance and fairness.

Faced with ever-increasing sources of information, Americans also are more likely to rely on news that is up-to-date, concise and cites expert sources or documents, according to a study by the Media Insight Project, a partnership of The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute.

They want to be able to navigate the news app or website easily and quickly, without having to wade through intrusive or annoying ads.

“The skill set that journalists have to master is bigger,” said Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute. That’s because the expectations of news consumers have increased.

The poll shows that accuracy clearly is the most important component of trust.

Nearly 90 percent of Americans say it’s extremely or very important that the media get their facts correct, according to the study. About 4 in 10 say they can remember a specific incident that eroded their confidence in the media, most often one that dealt with accuracy or a perception that it was one-sided.

The news media have been hit by a series of blunders on high-profile stories ranging from the Supreme Court’s 2012 ruling on President Barack Obama’s health care law to the Boston Marathon bombing that have helped feed negative perceptions of the media.

In 2014, Rolling Stone had to retract a vivid report about an alleged gang rape at a fraternity party at the University of Virginia. The Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, asked by Rolling Stone to investigate after questions were raised about the veracity of the story, called it an avoidable journalistic failure and “another shock to journalism’s credibility amid head-swiveling change in the media industry.”

“The most important thing that news organizations can do is be accurate, and while we know that is a high value, this study reinforces that,” said Margaret Sullivan, public editor of The New York Times.

Even if it goes against the competitive push to be first, she said, “perhaps there has to be a willingness to wait a little bit to be right.”

Readers also are looking for balance: Are there enough sources so they can get a rounded picture of what they are reading? They want transparency, too. “Tell me what you don’t know and tell me how you’re going about reporting the story,” she said.

African-Americans, Hispanics, and people following stories about crime and public safety are particularly likely to say it’s very important to see their communities and people who looked like them represented in reporting.

Sullivan said maximizing reader trust is both good journalism and good business. “For news organizations that want to be taken seriously, there is real opportunity here and real help,” she said.

About 6 in 10 Americans watch, read, or hear news several times a day, as computers, smartphones and tablets make it easier for people to follow the news on an on-demand basis.

A majority of people get news from social media, most frequently by far from Facebook. “Facebook is the place where everyone is, and so you’re not necessarily looking for news, but you’re getting it,” Rosenstiel.

Yet only 12 percent of those who use Facebook say they have a lot of trust in the news and information they see on the site.

Twitter attracts smaller numbers for news than Facebook, and about 18 percent have a good deal of trust in what they read there. There was also viewer skepticism of other social media sites.

Rosenstiel said people who use social media are “hunting pretty carefully for cues” in deciding whether to click on an item of news to read more. The most important factor in determining trust: whether or not they know the original source of the story.

Regardless of what digital site people go to for news, they don’t want to be sidetracked by ads that slow load time and impede navigation.

This poses a conundrum for publishers, Rosenstiel said, as they try to balance the demands of advertisers and the needs of their audience, who might just leave the site if they find the experience frustrating.

“In traditional print journalism, the ads were part of the reason that you wanted to leaf through the paper,” Sullivan said. “I think they can actually be less unpleasant than they are now, but I also feel strongly they have to be labeled clearly as ads.”

The poll of 2,014 adults was conducted Feb. 18-March 21 with funding from the American Press Institute. It used a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods, and later interviewed online or by phone.

Watch ‘Fight for 15’ Union Workers’ Reaction When Asked How Much Their Union President Gets Paid

America Rising Squared, a conservative media and research organization, posted two videos Monday featuring Service Employees International Union members protesting in solidarity with the “Fight for 15” movement’s “Day of Action.”

“Fight for 15” protests to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour took place across the country last week.

In an effort to find out who these protesters are and how much they know about the organization that employs them, America Rising Squared teams took to the sidewalks of Cleveland, Ohio, and Charlotte, North Carolina, to conduct interviews.

The first video shows a “Fight for 15” protest against a Cleveland McDonald’s restaurant. When America Rising Squared staff ask the protesters if they are employed, they confirm that they actually work for SEIU, not the McDonald’s where the they were holding the Thursday demonstration.

When asked if they know how much SEIU President Mary Kay Henry makes, the protesters flatly refused to answer:

The media outlet reported that Henry makes $296,549 per year — about $143 an hour assuming a 40-hour work week — according to the union’s latest financial disclosure.

The top national organizer for the “Fight for 15” movement, Kendall Fells, makes $150,214, or about $72 an hour. Fells is paid by SEIU.

The second video shows a “Fight for 15” protest at another McDonald’s in Charlotte. The protester in this video confesses that she doesn’t know how much SEIU’s president makes:

America Rising Squared, a project launched by the conservative America Rising PAC, explained on their website that their purpose in recording the protest was to expose “big labor-funded protests manned by union members who don’t even work at the fast food establishments they claim to speak for.”

Last week, the organization posted a video of an Austin, Texas, Taco Bell employee telling “Fight for 15” protesters to leave her store so she can do her job. The clip quickly went viral.

LeePButler Opines

Socialism Is Not An Economic Stimulus

Lee P. Butler

"In a little over one hundred days, this Recovery Act has worked as intended," President Obama recently said during one of his radio addresses.

Liberals have turned the ‘shuck and jive’ into a fine art form through the years and this administration has made it a line item on their daily itinerary, but this push towards socialism has gone further than even many Democrats can continue to stomach.

The President was apparently affirming what many pundits opposing his policies have been trying to get through the liberal media elitist pro-Obama cacophony since this administration took control of the reins.

Stimulating the economy is not what’s necessarily first and foremost on the agenda… transforming America into a socialist society is the predominant motivator, which is why he believes the Recovery Act is working just as he had planned.

Republican House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Vir.) recently charged in a Republican radio address response, "Remember the promises? They promised you if you paid for their stimulus, jobs would be created immediately. In fact, they said that unemployment would stay under eight percent. Yet just months later, they are telling us to brace for unemployment to climb over ten percent," he said.

Ah, remember when it was so easy for liberals to assert things that would be simply touted as fact by the liberal media, such as when the President asserted, "This plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs. More than 90 percent of these jobs will be in the private sector,” he said.

Now the unemployment rate is over ten percent in at least 15 states and the District of Columbia. No jobs are being saved or created in those areas of the country, but then for socialism to truly have its effect, the government needs folks who are dependent on it.

The Recovery Act is working as the President intended, remember?

Then the information starts flowing about how the process is being directed. The Washington Times recently reported that little of the stimulus money is actually going to the areas of the country that have been the hardest hit by the recession.


It could be postulated that many of those areas are red states. As a Democrat strategist would say, you turn red states blue by forcing those people to need government intervention, then during the next election campaign either promise money for their financially strapped area, threaten that the Republican candidate or representative is against that, and/or deny funding to that Republican representative.

The third thing listed has already started.

As Ben Smith of Politico reported, “ Relentless criticism of the stimulus package from a House Republican leader, Eric Cantor of Virginia, drew a furious barrage from the Democratic National Committee and a visit from no smaller figure than the Vice President of the United States. Rank and file Republicans who criticize the stimulus have also suddenly found themselves under a concerted DNC assault that asks if they’d prefer the federal funding left their districts out. And criticism from Sen Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) drew letters from no fewer than four Cabinet secretaries to his state’s governor, asking if she would prefer they withheld stimulus money.”

Talk about reaching across the aisle and working with your opponents! Apparently, that’s only in play if the opposing side AGREES with the socialist agenda this administration is fast-tracking for the hard working American families who they’ll start claiming they are trying to help because ‘it’s for their own good’!

Which is something the President did touch on during the election, “But what we haven’t yet seen is a rescue package for the middle class. So I’ve proposed four specific things that I think can help. #1, let’s focus on jobs. #2, let’s help families right away by providing them a middle-class tax cut. #3, Sen. McCain and I agree that we’ve got to help homeowners. #4, We’ve got some long-term challenges: We’ve got to fix our energy policy; our health care system; and invest in our education system.”

#1. So far the administration has only attacked the businesses that create and produce job growth, which has led to job losses… their answer is government to the rescue.

#2. Have you seen a ‘tax cut’? The only thing that has happened so far has been an increase in taxation on those who smoke and policies that will lead directly to tax increases… this is so they can provide that government rescue.

#3. They are proposing to help homeowners… by allowing the government to become their property keeper, regulator, and landlord.

#4. The administration’s plan for energy is to turn away from fossil fuels, not utilize nuclear, and regulate business through carbon taxes while promising ’green jobs’ that can’t even begin to materialize for a decade if ever…

But they are moving towards the government controlling your energy production… Government is moving to take over and control your health care… and government is going to put more wasted dollars into the government-run education system controlling your families even more.

The President’s policies are working just as he intended: Socialism is about government control, not as an economic stimulus.

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History Lesson: Why the Republican Party was Formed
Excerpted from the 1998 Encarta Digital Encyclopedia

In addition to adopting a new and harsh fugitive slave law, the Compromise of 1850 brought California into the Union as a free state, but allowed slavery in the rest of the territories. In 1854 Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act. This law partially repealed the Missouri Compromise by allowing the settlers of the Kansas and Nebraska territories (which included most of the present day states of Kansas, Nebraska, Montana, South Dakota, and North Dakota) to decide for themselves if they wanted slavery. This was known as popular sovereignty. Those hostile to this law and other opponents of slavery responded by forming the Republican Party. Popular sovereignty soon degenerated into a civil war in Kansas-known as the Border War, or "Bleeding Kansas"-as Southerners and Northerners battled over the status of slavery.

Dred Scott Case, landmark case of the 1850s in which the Supreme Court of the United States declared that African Americans were not U.S. citizens. The court also determined that the portion of the Missouri Compromise of 1820 that banned slavery in U.S. territories north and west of the state of Missouri was unconstitutional. The Dred Scott case intensified ongoing debates over slavery that further polarized the American North and South and eventually gave rise to the American Civil War in 1861.

In 1846 Dred Scott, a slave living in St. Louis, Missouri, sued to prove that he, his wife Harriet, and their two daughters were legally entitled to their freedom. After being tried in Missouri state courts and in a federal circuit court, the case went before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1856. The following year, the court rejected Scott’s claim. Speaking for the court, Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney concluded that blacks, even when free, could never become citizens of the United States and thus did not have a right to sue in federal courts. Taney also declared that Congress lacked the power to prohibit slavery in federal territories, a ruling that invalidated the part of the Missouri Compromise that banned slavery in the western territories.

The Dissents Justices John McLean of Ohio and Benjamin R. Curtis of Massachusetts issued dissenting opinions. Curtis attacked Taney’s historical arguments, showing that blacks had voted in five states at the founding of the United States. Thus, they were citizens of the nation from the beginning and could not now be denied citizenship.

Republicans also opposed the court’s decision. In speeches and throughout his famous debates with Stephen A. Douglas, Abraham Lincoln alleged a conspiracy to nationalize slavery that had been hatched by Taney, Douglas, former U.S. president Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan, then the president of the United States (see Abraham Lincoln: Lincoln-Douglas Debates).

On May 26, 1857, shortly after Taney’s decision, Scott gained his freedom when the sons of his first owner, Peter Blow, purchased and freed Scott and his family. Scott remained a free man until his death a few months later, on February 17, 1858.

His case, however, remained a key issue in American politics and law until the outbreak of the Civil War. Taney’s controversial decision in the case widened the breach between the North and South and further aggravated debates over slavery. It also played a decisive role in the emergence of Lincoln as the Republican Party’s presidential candidate in 1860 and his election later that year. Despite the decision in the case, Dred Scott and the Civil War ultimately helped to usher in the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 and what Lincoln called "a new birth of freedom" for African Americans. In 1865 the nation adopted the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which ended slavery. In 1868 it adopted the 14th Amendment, which declared that all persons born in the United States are citizens of the nation and of the state in which they live. These two amendments effectively reversed Taney’s assertions that the U.S. Constitution protected slavery and that African Americans could never be citizens of the United States.

This is a history lesson that is factually accurate and proves that the Republican Party is the party of civil rights. This history lesson has been purposely excluded from the class rooms of our children for too many decades.


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