Mainstream Media Shocked to Discover the Most Divisive Group in America Is the Mainstream Media

Have you ever seen the “Shocked Pikachu” meme? The basic idea is that someone who engages in stupid behavior is ultimately shocked when that stupid behavior results in negative consequences.


So, for example, let’s say the mainstream media engages in incredibly biased, divisive reporting and commentary. Then they take a poll to ask people why the country is so divided. You and I would not be shocked to discover the American public blames the media, but the media itself does this:

Shocked Pikachu
(Credit: Know Your Meme)

Via the Associated Press:

Nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults say the news media is increasing political polarization in this country, and just under half say they have little to no trust in the media’s ability to report the news fairly and accurately, according to a new survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights.

The poll, released before World Press Freedom Day on Wednesday, shows Americans have significant concerns about misinformation — and the role played by the media itself along with politicians and social media companies in spreading it — but that many are also concerned about growing threats to journalists’ safety.


Concern about the threat posed by misinformation unites Americans of both parties, with about 9 in 10 U.S. adults saying misinformation is a problem. A third of American adults say they see stories with false claims from politicians or misleading headlines every day.


One of the sources of division, according to the poll (as reported by the AP) the diversification of media – especially online – is playing a major role here. As more outlets are trying to increase their digital reach, they are attempting o grab all the clicks and eyeballs they can. The result is definitely the appearance of biased reporting from even the most respected of outlets – and for the new media outlets out there, it’s pretty obvious that they are basing their model on clicks rather than reporting. Sure, some of their reporting is good, but a lot of the time the headlines and social media posts ultimately promise too much and the stories themselves don’t deliver.

But this isn’t just an online media phenomenon. The fundamentals of how journalism is done have seemingly changed, with reporters and editors looking more for angles than facts. The result is more of an insight into the subconscious of the reporter rather than an insight into the subject.

Consider Jim Acosta of CNN. He wasn’t competing in the online space when he made the conscious decision to repeatedly debase himself in #resistance to Donald Trump. Consider Brian Stelter, who routinely hate-watched (and I guess still does) Fox News in order to report on what he thinks is their dishonest journalism, while never holding any non-Fox company accountable for their numerous misdeeds.


Consider the New York Times and Washington Post, which get to engage in anti-Trump and anti-Republicans talking points not because they are interested in the truth but interested in an agenda.

The media absolutely hates this, by the way, and you can tell that the AP is trying to deflect blame onto other factors, like digital journalism and social media. But these factors are a response to mainstream media changing their practices, not the mainstream media reacting to online outlets. The fact that they don’t understand they’re at fault here tells you pretty much all you need to know. And it’s a shame because there are journalists at almost all of these outlets who do good work.

But, the good work is almost always overlooked when there are so many bad actors ruining it.


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