There was really no reason for President Trump to tell a room full of veterans on Tuesday to remember that “what you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening.” Those who most strongly support him already treat the media that way.
Most Americans, a new poll from Quinnipiac University found, disapprove of how the media cover Trump, a function of a majority of independents disapproving of that coverage. Among Republicans, though, nearly 9 in 10 disapprove of the media coverage. (On the charts below, the darker columns are the positions that comport with Trump’s view of the matter.)
Most Americans also disapprove of how Trump talks about the media. Most Republicans, though — two-thirds of them — agree with Trump’s characterizations of the media.
The most remarkable finding in the poll, though, was this one.
While 86 percent of Democrats trust the media to tell the truth about important issues, three-quarters of Republicans trust Trump.
This isn’t a new finding, as such. Quinnipiac first started asking the question in March 2017, at which point Republican trust in Trump over the media was at 86 percent. After that, it settled into the range where it is now. Democrats have consistently trusted the media over Trump in overwhelming numbers.
The news outlet most trusted among Republicans is Fox News, Suffolk University polling has consistently found. It’s also the network that has discussed the Russia investigation the least and the network whose viewers have the most favorable opinions of Trump.
As we’ve noted before, Republican support for Trump’s views of the media go a step further. A plurality of Republicans say that it’s more accurate to describe the media as “the enemy of the people” than it is to say that the media are an important part of democracy.
That’s down a bit from April, when a majority chose “enemy.” (And “important part” is up among Republicans since then.)
While that pejorative hasn’t caught on as Trump might hope, his portrayal of the media as untrustworthy and — amazingly — of himself as more trustworthy than journalists has. At least among members of his own party, he achieved something remarkable early in his presidency: getting people to trust him when he labels the media as “fake news” and, therefore, to trust him over the media on everything else.