In a recent Occasional Planet on-line poll of 239 randomly selected Americans, a somewhat surprisingly high number of strong Republicans place their trust in the mainstream media. Those who identified themselves as strong Republicans were asked, “
Which of the following do you trust most (check one)?
- News from liberal sources
- News from mainstream news
- News from conservative sources
The responses among these strong Republicans were:
- Liberal Sources – 6%
- Mainstream – 41%
- Conservative Sources – 53%
Of course, this is all muddied when we don’t really know how each respondent defines the media sources. For instance, if you were asked whether your local television stations are mainstream or conservative, could you make a strong argument that they’re conservative because they reinforce traditional American values and never want to “rock the boat?”
Is CNN mainstream because they’re not Fox or MSNBC, or are they liberal because they frequently state up front that President Trump is not telling the truth?
When a local station runs a story about the Susan G. Komen efforts to fight breast cancer, is it liberal because it involves empathy, or is it conservative because it bypasses the entity with the greatest resources to fight cancer, the federal government?
So, when 41% of strong conservatives say that they trust most the mainstream media, we really don’t know what they mean. Once again, another reason for greater study of conservatives from progressives if we are to better connect with conservatives and their concerns.