February 24, 2023

Americans Don’t Trust the Media Except…

We all instinctually know we’re being lied to, but many of our fellow citizens still buy certain lies.

New polls show that Americans are turning against gun rights. But are they?

First, we must be wary of any poll shared by the mainstream media. We know media outlets cherry-pick polls that make conservative, commonsense policies look like fringe ideas. Second, poll questions and data can be spun by the talkingheads to fit their agenda.

Essentially, they’re banking on people being susceptible to the Pollaganda Effect, a term we coined to explain how the media uses polling to drive rather than reflect public opinion.

Here’s an example of the Pollaganda Effect at its worst: For two weeks after a school shooting, the media uses that violence to perpetuate the idea that guns are the problem. Virtually every single mainstream media figure regurgitates the talking point that weak gun laws are to blame. Politicians hit the media circuit recirculating the same idea.

After saturating the minds of the American public with these ideas, a poll is taken to see what’s on everyone’s minds. The results are predictable.

“At best,” wrote own Mark Alexander years ago, “reputable pollsters can get it wrong — even though they poll representative samples and ask objective questions. However, most media-designed and reported polling is as ‘objective’ as the Demo/MSM outlets that sponsor them.”

And it works, regardless of the issue.

Way back in 2002, the organization Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting stated: “When the U.S. government takes military action, instant polls help to propel the rapid-fire cycles of spin. After top officials in Washington have engaged in a well-coordinated media blitz during the crucial first hours of warfare, the TV networks tell us that most Americans approve — and the quick poll results may seem to legitimize and justify the decision to begin the bloodshed.”

Despite what we think, millions of Americans are still largely trusting of news sources and tend to take 60-second poll digests as reality.

This is certainly true when it comes to gun laws.

Last week, the Gallup organization released a poll and blared its conclusion: “Americans’ dissatisfaction with U.S. gun laws has risen to 63%, the highest by one percentage point in Gallup’s 23-year trend, and an increase of seven points over the past year. At the same time, satisfaction with gun policy has fallen by the same amount to 34%, tying the lowest reading on record.”

At first glance, one might reach the conclusion that Americans are shying away from gun rights. That’s not an unreasonable assumption considering how every major news network, print publication, and website has repeatedly pushed this notion for years. On the other hand, it’s important to note that “dissatisfaction” with gun laws might come from gun-rights advocates who are well aware that many state laws still violate basic constitutional rights. Gallup doesn’t distinguish.

Yet while some Americans seem to accept these false narratives, there’s a hopeful contradiction: Half of us believe the national news media intentionally mislead and misinform the public.

That’s according to yet another survey by Gallup and the Knight Foundation. “About half of Americans said they do not trust the news media to be truthful,” according to National Review. “When asked if they believed that most national news organizations do not intend to mislead, misinform, or persuade the public, 50 percent of respondents disagreed. Only 25 percent agreed.”

What’s interesting about this survey is that it goes much deeper than a knee-jerk reaction to a polling question. People may not always be able to pinpoint what’s untrue in media reporting, but they sure do have a gut feeling that the media is working to mislead them.

We could brush this off, but public perception also influences elections. Never forget the collusion between Big Media and Big Tech to suppress the story of Biden family corruption revealed by Hunter Biden’s laptop. Spiking that story before the 2020 election meant millions of voters cast their ballots without all the pertinent information.

Polls are one way to take the pulse of the electorate, but they often tell us more about the narrative the Leftmedia is trying to create than what’s really on the minds of our fellow citizens.

In the end, polls should be taken with a grain of salt and a pound of skepticism.

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