U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- The mainstream “establishment” media—which has rarely been sympathetic to gun owners or kind to the Second Amendment—lost any semblance of credibility with conservatives and especially gun owners with its coverage of the presidential election, according to social media reactions to a question posed 36 hours after the polls closed Nov. 3.
That loss is likely permanent. Heading into the weekend, media integrity seemed to be sliding even farther as major networks cut away from President Donald Trump’s news conference, leaving many people even more convinced of a strong bias against the president that has existed since his stunning 2016 defeat of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
It has been a bad week for Trump supporters, but a worse one for the American press. Even the sarcastic Babylon Bee took a hard poke at the prognosticators.
An inquiry on Facebook simply asked, “After this year, can anyone trust the media or the polls ever again?” Every response was negative, and several were accusatory.
One man wrote, “It wasn’t as if the media miscalled certain issues on the economy or on foreign policy. It wasn’t as if pollsters simply got it wrong. It was purposeful to diminish the successes of the president. The media and pollsters aren’t this incompetent. They’re sinister.”
Another observed, “The media had turned into a propaganda machine for their leftist agendas.”
For weeks, even months, leading up to the election, various media outlets teamed with polling companies to produce poll after poll showing Democrat Joe Biden ahead of incumbent President Donald Trump. It was perhaps best summed up by Joe Concha, media reporter for The Hill, during an appearance on Fox News:
“I saw a poll, I think it was about a month or two ago and that many people are afraid to share their political affiliations with anybody, even if it is just a random person over the phone because they are afraid of some sort of consequences around that and we’ve seen cancel culture actually take these people out,” Concha told “Fox & Friends.”
“Why does this happen,” he continued. “Is it to create an illusion that perhaps that Joe Biden had this huge lead and why bother going out? It’s almost like a psychological suppression of votes in these situations to say, ‘Ok, look Joe Biden is up 17 in Wisconsin, why even bother?’ Right. These are the consequences as a result.”
There are now growing suspicions that various news agencies refused to call key states for Trump when they were willing to call other states for Biden with only a fraction of votes tallied. The prevailing suspicion is that the media, especially cable news channels that have been hostile toward the president since before he took office in January 2017, simply did not want to acknowledge a win during the still-hotly contested election. And there is something else, as pointed out by a prominent gun rights activist and firearms retailer in the Pacific Northwest: Why does it take so long to count presidential votes when they are on the same ballots as other races and election issues that got settled so quickly?
One theory discussed privately by some conservative observers is that the media wanted to create the impression that Biden was winning from the outset and Trump was trying to steal the election. What if it’s been the other way around, by preventing observers to watch in Philadelphia, for example? Those questions will now always linger.
This dilemma reaches well beyond electoral politics, and squarely into the gun rights realm.
If the media deliberately portrayed things so wrongly with a presidential election, what does that say about their coverage of the Second Amendment debate?
When was the last time a reporter demanded to know why the gun prohibition lobby is so determined to ban so-called “assault rifles” when the annual FBI Uniform Crime Report shows rifles of any kind are used in a fraction of all homicides in any given year?
That question never came up during either presidential debate, nor was it asked during the vice presidential debate.
Why does the establishment media habitually refer to “gun violence” when discussing violent crime, but reports never mention “knife violence” when someone is fatally stabbed? Nor does the press use a term such as “blunt instrument violence” when someone is assaulted or murdered with a hammer or metal baseball bat?
Gun rights versus gun control hardly came up during the 2020 presidential campaign. Trump consistently mentioned his efforts to protect the Second Amendment during his campaign rallies, but when it comes to talking about the rights of America’s 100 million-plus gun owners, Biden had lockjaw.
- How many American newsrooms have anyone on staff who can speak and write with authority about firearms?
- How many newsrooms even have a single gun owner on staff who can spot reporting errors regarding firearms?
For a profession that prides itself on objectivity, the establishment press is dreadfully lacking, and editorial boards that owe their existence to the First Amendment have rarely shown any regard for the Second Amendment as protective of a fundamental right, rather than a government-regulated privilege.
President Trump may not be anyone’s first choice as a dinner guest, but in retrospect, the establishment media has been openly biased against him, perhaps because he didn’t come into the job as a Beltway insider, but as a businessman who likes to finish projects rather than perpetuate them with endless studies.
The New York Times was trying to cover for its broadcast colleagues by saying they were reluctant to make early calls on election night, but several states were called for the Biden column on far thinner returns than states including Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, which were strongly tilted toward Trump.
That doesn’t go unnoticed by viewers who are still wondering how Virginia was called for Biden when on-screen returns were showing Trump with a massive lead early in the evening. If reporters knew something, they weren’t sharing it with their viewers.
The president has made a habit of complaining about “fake news.” It may not have been the prudent thing to do, but after this election cycle, a large segment of the public will always believe it was the right thing to do.
Dave Workman is a career journalist with a degree in journalism from the University of Washington. His writing career has spanned a half century.
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