Freedom of the Press is one of the tenants of democracy in the United States. The founders of the nation considered it so important they protected it in the First Amendment.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." ~ First Amendment to the United States Constitution
However that trust and importance eroded among some segments of the population. A new Quinnipiac poll finds a majority of Republicans view the media as the "enemy of the people" instead of a defender of freedom.
According to the poll results, "Republicans say 51 - 37 percent that the media is the enemy of the people, rather than an important part of democracy, the only group to believe that."
Other respondents stated a belief that "The news media is an important part of democracy, 66 percent of American voters say, while 22 percent say the media is the enemy of the people. (The majority of) Voters trust the media more than President Trump 53 - 37 percent to tell the truth about important issues."
New poll: Republicans say 51 - 37 percent that the media is the enemy of the people, rather than an important part… https://t.co/3CBS3PKyW8— Hadas Gold (@Hadas Gold) 1524830833.0
April 26, 2018 Quinnipiac poll results (Quinnipiac University)
The reason for the erosion of GOP voters' faith in the press is likely due to the leader of their party and his relationship with the mainstream media. President Donald Trump and the press enjoy an almost love hate relationship.
The Republican held White House displays an often contentious interaction with the majority of the White House press corps and mainstream press. The only notable exception is FOX News.
White House press briefings, from the beginning of the Trump administration, became more volatile. Former White House Press Secretary and acting White House Communications Director Sean Spicer began the almost adversarial relationship that has become a hallmark for the current White House resident's spokespeople.
It is not unusual to see Kellyanne Conway or Sarah Huckabee Sanders or their coworkers and predecessors in heated exchanges with the press.
President Trump's taste tends toward the more fringe media organizations than mainstream. Former Breitbart News head Steve Bannon once held a position in the president's inner circle. Trump also received criticism for quoting Infowars host Alex Jones, a noted purveyor of conspiracy theories.
Trump began using the phrase "fake news" on his Twitter account to describe any reports he did not like or that showed him in an unfavorable light before his presidency began. Trump also used the phrase often in his campaign rallies and speeches.
Reports by @CNN that I will be working on The Apprentice during my Presidency, even part time, are ridiculous & untrue - FAKE NEWS!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1481379109.0
Since then, Trump has Tweeted the phrase over 185 times.
Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd of Fake News NBC just stated that we have given up so much in our negotiations with North Ko… https://t.co/SycCm3qDvI— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1524401422.0
In 2017, the president even planned a "Fake News Awards" event.
The phrase has become extremely popular among the president's supporters. In a recent House Judiciary Committee hearing, conservative social media personalities, Diamond and Silk, used the phrase when answering questions about official documents filed by the Trump Campaign.
Reaction to the poll results follows the same lines as the poll results, with some finding the GOP distrust of media justified.
While others find the poll results a disturbing sign for democracy.
@Hadas_Gold This is why the damage from this administration will long outlast Trump himself.— Geostomp X (@Geostomp X) 1524832052.0
@Hadas_Gold @maggieNYT And the day before yesterday they were saying trump had nothing to do with the decline in Am… https://t.co/mb9zJO0vuo— Bob (@Bob) 1524831043.0
@Hadas_Gold @maggieNYT That is not a good thing, a free press ensure that the truth is out. It's Central to democracy— SOLID SNAKE (@SOLID SNAKE) 1524831545.0
@Hadas_Gold @maggieNYT The media is not the enemy the true enemy is the enabling Republicans in Congress. The need… https://t.co/YQjDZKkq34— Robert Carlino (@Robert Carlino) 1524834474.0
@Hadas_Gold @maggieNYT What’s the first rule of building an autocracy?— jammjohnson (@jammjohnson) 1524831299.0
@Hadas_Gold https://t.co/tILBLJpOKI— #memoriesoneatatime (@#memoriesoneatatime) 1524840150.0