Half of America has lost faith in the ability of CNN to provide objective news and analysis, according to the latest national poll from Breitbart News Network and Gravis Marketing.
A whopping 50 percent answered “no” when asked if they “trust CNN to give you objective news and analysis.” Only 32 percent, less than a third of Americans, replied “yes,” while 19 percent said they were “unsure” if CNN gives objective news and analysis.
The poll, which also showed Republican nominee Donald Trump closing the gap between him and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, was conducted from Aug. 22 to Aug. 23 and sampled 1,493 likely voters nationwide. It has a margin of error of 2.5 percent.
“Inside different communities, we see deep distrust of CNN,” said Doug Kaplan, the managing partner of Gravis Marketing.
Digging deeper into the cross tabs, it’s clear that Democrats are slightly more trustworthy of CNN than Republicans, but even Democrats don’t fully trust the network’s content. Just 49.8 percent of Democrats—just shy of a majority—said “yes” when asked if they trust CNN to give objective news and analysis while 27.4 percent said “no” and 22.8 percent said “unsure.”
Among Republicans, deep distrust of CNN exists. A whopping 75.8 percent said “no” when asked if CNN gives objective news and analysis; just 10.8 percent of Republicans said “yes” and 13.4 percent were “unsure.” Independents are also deeply wary of CNN, as more than half—55.3 percent—said “no” when asked if CNN provides them with objective news and analysis. Just 27.3 percent of independents said “yes,” and 17.4 percent said they were “unsure.”
“This election cycle has become an extreme example or case study in how the mainstream media attempts to dominate the narrative and pick winners and losers, so we wanted to get a handle on how likely voters were reacting to it,” Kaplan said.
Kaplan said these statistics have got to be alarming for executives at CNN, which Trump—the GOP nominee—has started referring to as the “Clinton News Network.”
“At some point, CNN has to pause and look at these numbers and recognize that they have a problem,” Kaplan said. “The old dodge was that the media gets criticized by both sides, so it must be in the middle. It is pretty clear in 2016 with CNN there is no more middle.”
CNN has deep credibility problems in many demographic communities, as well.
Fifty-four percent of Catholic likely voters do not trust CNN’s reporting and analysis to be objective, while only 30 percent do and 16 percent are unsure. Only 25 percent of Jewish likely voters trust CNN’s reporting and analysis as objective, while 33 percent do not and 42 percent are unsure. Among Evangelical Christians, CNN fares worst with just 25 percent trust the network’s reporting and analysis as objective; an astounding 70 percent answered the question “no,” and 5 percent were unsure.
With likely black voters, 56 percent trust CNN’s reporting and analysis to be objective, while 21 percent don’t and 23 percent are unsure. Hispanics are divided fairly equally on whether to trust the network, with 38 percent answering the question “yes” and 37 percent answering “no,” while 25 percent are “unsure.”
Longtime Democratic pollster Patrick Caddell told Breitbart News the lack of trust in CNN plays along with similar trends in the 2016 election.
“CNN is supposed to be the one that is objective,” Caddell said.
“That’s why they are in the terminals,” he said. “Nobody wants complaints about putting on Fox News or MSNBC, so CNN is supposed to be the safe choice for the airports, or wherever you go where they have the news on.”
Despite this reputation, the voters are picking up on CNN’s bias, he said. Some of their panels are three-on-one against Trump, other panels are seven-on-one against Trump, and sometimes, the only Republicans they have on are #NeverTrump, he said.
Caddell, whose career as a groundbreaking pollster and consultant was built on recognizing insurgencies and pockets of unrest before they metastasized across the electorate, said it was too late for Clinton to pivot as an insurgent candidate.
“Clinton does best with voters who think the country is going in the right direction,” he said.
It is also too late for Clinton to turn on outlets like CNN because her supporters trust them as objective. “If she attacks CNN and the rest of the media, she would be attacking her base and you can’t win by attacking your base.”
Although Trump has been critical of the press and his supporters agree with his assessment, Caddell said the New York City developer needs to further develop this narrative beyond scolding the cameramen at his rallies. Caddell said opportunities are there, given the relatively high undecided slice of the electorate in this year’s campaign.
Caddell recalled how — during the 1980 election cycle, when he was advising President James E. “Jimmy” Carter — the press turned on the president because they thought he was hiding from them.
“It was the so-called ‘Rose Garden’ strategy and the media accused Carter—and I think unfairly–of using the Iranian hostage crisis to avoid them,” he said. Carter lost to Ronald Reagan after he defeated Sen. Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy Sr. (D.-Mass.) in a bitter Democratic primary battle. During these races, Caddell said, the press often took Kennedy’s side and then didn’t attack Reagan as hard as they could.
“They really resented it and for the rest of the campaign they never went after Reagan they way they would have because of it,” he said. “If was like they were saying: ‘We are no longer carrying water for you.’”
The pollster said the real turning point when the media tossed away the veneer of objectivity was the 1988 campaign. Massachusetts Democratic Gov. Michael S. Dukakis was facing Vice-President George H.W. Bush, and the Dukakis narrative—repeated by the media—was that the governor would do for America what he did for the Bay State.
“The problem was the state was in real trouble and right after the election it almost filed for bankruptcy,” he said.
At the time, The Boston Globe, which knew better, refused to cover the problems in Massachusetts, along with the rest of the media — except for one place, the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, he said. While the WSJ reporters aped the Dukakis narrative, the paper’s opinion section actually broke stories that its own reporters ignored. After 1988, reporters stopped pretending to be objective altogether, Caddell said.