Politics

Americans Say Media Divide Us More Than Trump, New Poll Finds

Liberal reporters and pundits keep blaming the president for partisan divide and recent violence — but the voters have another point of view

Image Credit: Shutterstock & Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A majority of U.S. voters actually believe the media have done more to divide this country than President Donald Trump’s rhetoric has — despite the media’s repeated insistence that Trump must tone things down, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll released Thursday.

Approximately 64 percent of voters said that mainstream media outlets have “done more to unite or divide the country since President Trump took office,” while only 17 percent thought the media have done “more to unite” the country.

Meanwhile, 56 percent of voters think Trump “has done more to unite or divide the country since he took office” — while 30 percent said he has “done more to unite” the country.

Politico and Morning Consult surveyed 2,543 registered voters for the poll between October 25-30.

Two main topics dominated the national discourse during that time period: the string of suspicious packages containing crude explosive devices that were sent to CNN’s New York City bureau and prominent Democrats, as well as the shooting massacre that targeted Jewish-Americans in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, last Saturday.

Cesar Sayoc, a supporter of Trump’s, was arrested for sending the suspicious packages.

Robert Bowers, who disliked Trump, was arrested for killing 11 victims and shooting six others at the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill section of Pittsburgh. That attack was the deadliest on the Jewish community in U.S. history.

It didn’t take long for many media members to pin part of the blame for the string of suspicious packages on Trump for his tough rhetoric criticizing “fake news” media as “the enemy of the people.”

Some media members also blamed Trump, in part, for the synagogue shooting — although he vehemently denounced anti-Semitism in its wake. (Shown above far left is CNN’s Brian Stelter; at right is Mika Brzezinksi of MSNBC.)

But Trump has urged the media to take some responsibility for the divisive political environment.

“The Fake News is doing everything in their power to blame Republicans, Conservatives and me for the division and hatred that has been going on for so long in our Country. Actually, it is their Fake & Dishonest reporting which is causing problems far greater than they understand!” Trump tweeted Sunday.

“There is great anger in our Country caused in part by inaccurate, and even fraudulent, reporting of the news. The Fake News Media, the true Enemy of the People, must stop the open & obvious hostility & report the news accurately & fairly. That will do much to put out the flame … of Anger and Outrage and we will then be able to bring all sides together in Peace and Harmony. Fake News Must End!” Trump added Monday.

Nevertheless, Trump was the target of many reporters, anchors and pundits on networks like CNN and MSNBC as many accused him of fanning the flames of violence and division without accepting any blame themselves.

CNN political commentator Errol Louis directly said on Tuesday on “CNN Newsroom” said that Trump “may have caused or contributed to the tragedy” of the synagogue shooting.

CNN host Don Lemon didn’t try for unity at all on Monday on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time.” He said, “So we have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the Right, and we have to start doing something about them.”

Related: Eight Desperate Media Attempts to Tie Trump to the ‘Suspicious Packages’ Sent to CNN, Dems

Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” stoked division by blaming both Trump and Fox News in part for the synagogue shooting because Bowers used the words “invaders” and “invasion” to describe migrants traveling with the latest Central American caravan heading for the U.S. through Mexico.

“So we can talk about fear-mongering, we can talk about the ridiculousness of this rhetoric, but it is effective among some people,” Stelter said Tuesday on CNN’s “New Day.”

“I sure hope some of those Fox hosts, some of those commentators, take a moment, take a minute to think about their role in this environment. Hopefully there is some soul-searching right now in the wake of this massacre,” Stelter added.

And MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski ganged up on Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and adviser, for condemning the string of suspicious packages last week.

“Do you condem [sic] your father’s violent rhetoric? Can you? Step up. Only a coward would stand by silently now. What a weak disappointing WH. Shame. Shame on you,” Brzezinski tweeted — in a manner that didn’t at all strive for unity or civility.

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