The mainstream media does not like Donald Trump. Nor, for that matter, does Mr. Trump care much for the press. It is by now a common complaint of the Trump campaign and from Trump supporters that news media is biased against Donald Trump. Moreover, the issue of media bias has itself become an issue in the campaign.
Co-founder of Politico concerned about bias
Recently Jim VandeHei, the co-founder of Politico which is not generally thought of as a conservative site, expressed concern that mainstream reporters have openly sided with Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump.
The number of mainstream media reporters who are out there expressing their explicit opinions, that tend to be decisively pro-Hillary and anti-Trump, to me is scary. I don’t, listen, Donald Trump gives you a lot things to fear and a lot of things to dislike. But you cannot, cannot, cannot as a reporter be taking sides in a public forum whether it’s on Twitter or whether it’s on email or whether it’s on TV. — Jim VandeHei
No newspapers have endorsed Trump
As of September 30, seventeen major newspapers around the country have endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. Six have endorsed Gary Johnson, and not a single paper has endorsed Donald Trump.
The New York Times Editorial Board pulled no punches in their opinion of Mr. Trump:
In any normal election year, we’d compare the two presidential candidates side by side on the issues. But this is not a normal election year. A comparison like that would be an empty exercise in a race where one candidate — our choice, Hillary Clinton — has a record of service and a raft of pragmatic ideas, and the other, Donald Trump, discloses nothing concrete about himself or his plans while promising the moon and offering the stars on layaway. (We will explain in a subsequent editorial why we believe Mr. Trump to be the worst nominee put forward by a major party in modern American history.) — The New York Times
USA Today gives first endorsement in 34 years
Not to be outdone by the Times, USA Today offered its first presidential endorsement in 34 years of publishing:
This year, the choice isn’t between two capable major party nominees who happen to have significant ideological differences. This year, one of the candidates — Republican nominee Donald Trump — is, by unanimous consensus of the Editorial Board, unfit for the presidency. — USA Today
While mainstream newspapers like to cloak themselves as unbiased observers, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that if a paper’s editorial board is issuing such dire warnings against one of the candidates, then the paper’s reporting of the “facts” may be suspect. The New York Times headlined one news article on September 24, 2016, A Week of Whoppers From Donald Trump, which is hardly promising of an unbiased report of the week’s news.
Public lacks trust in media
Americans have a generally low opinion of the ethical standards of people in the media business. According to a Gallup poll, only 27% of the public ranks journalist as having high ethical standards while only 32% trust the mass media.
The irony is that it was the mainstream media that introduced Donald Trump to the American public. Trump relied almost exclusively on the free publicity given his campaign by the media to win the Republican primaries. While Trump is spending more in the general election, it’s still a fraction of what Clinton is spending on ads. For better or worse, Trump dominates more news cycles than does Hillary Clinton.
Media bias unlikely to affect outcome
If there is indeed a bias in the mass media against Donald Trump, it is unlikely to influence the outcome of the election in any meaningful way. The public has an ever-increasing array of options to gather information to form opinions and relies less and less on mainstream media to shape their view.