New Poll Reveals How Republicans View the Media, and Yep, It's Donald Trump's Party Now

White House Press Press Secretary Sarah Sanders Holds Press Briefing At White House (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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."

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.

Since then, Trump has Tweeted the phrase over 185 times.

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.

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Late last month, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers issued one of these orders, urging his constituents to only leave their houses for necessary errands, such as getting groceries or filling prescriptions.

There's just one problem: Wisconsin's elections are scheduled for April 7. In addition to the Presidential primaries, Wisconsinites will vote for judicial positions, school board seats, and thousands of other offices.

The Democratic and Republican National Committees took the case to the Supreme Court, with Democrats arguing that the deadline for mailing absentee ballots should be extended by a week, to April 13, in order to facilitate voting from home.

With a Wisconsin Supreme Court Seat up for grabs on Tuesday, Republicans predictably made the case for why as few people as possible should be permitted to vote. It was a continuation of Wisconsin GOP efforts to suppress the vote, which included rejecting a demand from Governor Evers to automatically mail an absentee ballot to every resident.

The Republican majority in United States Supreme Court sided with the RNC and the election in Wisconsin will carry on as scheduled. This is despite Wisconsin being unprepared for the surge in absentee ballot requests, which leapt from a typical 250,000 to over 1.2 million in reaction to the virus. Thousands of these voters won't even receive these ballots until after the election, thereby preventing them from exercising their right to vote.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote a blistering dissent to the majority's decision, saying:

"Either [voters] will have to brave the polls, endangering their own and others' safety. Or they will lose their right to vote, through no fault of their own. That is a matter of utmost importance — to the constitutional rights of Wisconsin's citizens, the integrity of the State's election process, and in this most extraordinary time, the health of the Nation."

She was flabbergasted that her more conservative colleagues didn't think a global pandemic and national crisis was enough to justify emergency policies ensuring Wisconsinites their right to vote:

"The Court's suggestion that the current situation is not 'substantially different' from 'an ordinary
election' boggles the mind...Now, under this Court's order, tens of thousands of absentee voters, unlikely to receive their ballots in time to cast them, will be left quite literally without a vote."

A majority of the Supreme Court may not have agreed with Ginsburg, but the court of public opinion was fully on her side.

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In a bit of devastating irony, the Supreme Court voted remotely when making its decision.

For more information about the tried and true tactic of GOP voter suppression, check out Uncounted, available here.

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