I continue to hear politicians try to dismiss the IRS scandal as “not about Republicans or Democrats, but about trust in government”. Well as I said then, it is Republicans and Democrats who govern, so excuse me if I don’t share their “differentiation.” The IRS scandal is all about politics, and in this case, the misuse of the agency by a Democratic administration.
The administration that promised to be the most transparent in history uses covert government accounts to keep electronic mail from becoming public, according to a national news conglomerate that reports “the scope of using the secret accounts across government remains a mystery.”
And yes, this trust in government issue is again as political as the IRS. If your government won’t abide by its own rules, then there’s no basis for trust is there? Who or what is the agency in question in this particlar government trust issue? Why the Executive agency. Not some nameless bureaucrat in some faceless bureaucracy. Nope. Mr. “Most Transparant Administration Ever” – caught cheating.
Gee, I wonder if they’ve figured out they’re being a little too obvious about it?
Yeah, probably not. They have “3 layers of editors” after all.
Now there are those out there that say, much like voter fraud, there’s really no bias in the media, they’re professionals.
Well, we may call them that, but that doesn’t make them professionals.
More importantly, much like voter fraud and a myriad other things, it ignores human nature.
What there’s been in the past, for the most part, is plausible deniability. It just wasn’t obvious or if it was, it was arguable. Now?
Well now it is really hardly arguable anymore. Treatment of recent events brings that into startling focus. Yesterday on QandO Facebook, we linked to an article that listed 6 plausible headlines if Obama was a Republican president.
And yes, they’re quite plausible. In fact, I think that it is almost inarguable.
As interesting as the first graph above is, the second it telling in another way:
How is it telling? Well, who is the most satisfied demographic? 18 points higher than the average in the above of those who are a great deal or fairly satisfied with the media. And, as expected, at least if you follow the news media at all, the GOP is horribly dissatisfied. In fact 74% have little or no trust in the media.
But that’s not the important story in that graph. It’s the slide of the independent voter from a postion of trust to one of distrust. A 21% drop from 2001 to now.
It is that demographic’s distrust that best tells the story. They really have no dog in the hunt in terms of strong ideology. Their claim is they vote the candidate that best represents them at the time. So if anyone’s view is less tainted by ideology or concern, it would be independents. And they’ve shown a marked downward trend in trust for the media.
The point? Well the point may be that the media’s best biased efforts may not pay off quite as well as they hope or they’ve enjoyed in the past.
One of the reasons is there are a multitude of other sources out there that are readily available and help point out the half-truths and spin that is seen quite often in media reports these days. It also says, at least to me, that such sources are being both sought out and believed (if the independent number has any validity at all).
On a broad level, Americans’ high level of distrust in the media poses a challenge to democracy and to creating a fully engaged citizenry. Media sources must clearly do more to earn the trust of Americans, the majority of whom see the media as biased one way or the other. At the same time, there is an opportunity for others outside the “mass media” to serve as information sources that Americans do trust.
That’s precisely what is happening. The media monopoly has gone the way of feudalism. The digital printing press has seen to that. The problem is, the media, for all their self-lauding and claims of being “professionals” haven’t yet caught on to the fact that they’re fast becoming the equivalent of the buggy whip in an automotive society.
And it’s their fault.
During his State of the Union address, President Obama spoke of the nation suffering from a “deficit of trust” in government.
He’s right. There is a large and growing deficit of trust in government. That’s why health care is in trouble.
Obama’s also a big part of that reason. He’s made some claims that a majority of Americans simply don’t think are true. For instance:
The president in the speech declared that his administration has cut taxes for 95% of Americans. He even chided Republicans for not applauding on that point. However, just 21% of voters nationwide believe that taxes have been cut for 95% of Americans. Most (53%) say it has not happened, and 26% are not sure. Other polling shows that nearly half the nation’s voters expect their own taxes to go up during the Obama years.
Despite what most politicians think, people are not idiots. They’ve watched what Washington has done in terms of spending and spending and spending, and they know someone has to pay for that. They also know the “rich” can’t possibly do that alone and that corporations really don’t pay taxes, they instead collect them. And finally, they understand when they’re being spun. While there may not be an increase in their income taxes this year, they’re seeing all sorts of proposals about new or increased taxes they’ll be paying outside of income taxes. They understand those impose a tax on them that is just as costly as an income tax in terms of their priorities vs. government’s. So the 95% rhetoric was most likely rejected by a good portion of the population as he said it, and another portion has come to realize it was just spin. Result – a deficit of trust in government. And for a good reason.
Then there’s this:
The president also asserted that “after two years of recession, the economy is growing again.” Just 35% of voters believe that statement is true, while 50% say it is false.
Governments and agencies can declare “the economy is growing again” until they turn blue, but until Joe Sixpack sees his lot improve economically, that’s just so much spin as far as he’s concerned. That’s what this number most likely reflects. While the numbers may look good at NEBR, the only number the voters care about are the one’s which directly effect his or her life – and at the moment, most of them are waving the BS flag. For them the recession isn’t over and the economy isn’t growing again until they’re materially benefiting from it. Hearing all this happy talk from government while experiencing 10% unemployment and very tough times equals a “deficit of trust”.
Obama claimed that steps taken by his team are responsible for putting two million people to work “who would otherwise be unemployed.” Just 27% of voters say that statement is true. Fifty-one percent (51%) say it’s false.
I don’t think it takes a political junkie to figure out who make up the 27% that believe this claim. This number is not only highly suspect, there have been a number of stories written about false job reports, stimulus funds to nonexistent congressional districts and zip codes that don’t exist. And we were told that “Sheriff Joe Biden” would be the one monitoring all this and ensuring the funds were spent properly to create jobs. If you can’t get the Congressional districts or zip codes right and don’t know where those funds went, why would anyone believe the job numbers that were supposedly “created or saved?” Again – a deficit in trust.
Personally I like the deficit in trust when it comes to government. That is both healthy and necessary as far as I’m concerned. The truth of anything a politician says, claims or promises should be taken with very skeptical grain of salt. While it is true that there was an era when the public was more accepting of government and considered it to be an ally and a “friend”, government has managed, over the years, to kill that perception (thank goodness). Now people are more readily seeing government for what it is – an intrusive, costly, ever expanding behemoth, bent on gathering more and more power and devouring our national wealth and liberty.
The fact that the public is waking up to this, as the numbers indicate, is a good sign, despite the fact that the statists claim that general skepticism and resistance (a hearkening back to our roots in freedom) makes us “ungovernable.” And perhaps it does. After all, “give me liberty or give me death” certainly smacks of someone who certainly was considered ungovernable by the rulers of his time. Perhaps the “ungovernable’s” time, of necessity, has come again.