One of the funniest things to witness in corporate media is when they take themselves so seriously, that they don’t realize just how comical they actually are. The latest episode of “Corporate Media’s Trump Derangement Syndrome in Action” comes from the Los Angeles Times.
In a story titled, Here’s one factor that might peel Trump’s diehard supporters away, they tested out fake news stories purportedly published by either leftist Politico or right-leaning Breitbart. The stories about Trump were manufactured to see how Trump supporters would react to reading propaganda that painted him in a negative light.
We also wanted to see if different types of news coverage about Trump could widen or shrink this electability gap. In our experiment, we set up several different conditions, with participants divided up randomly into groups of roughly 200 people. We showed each group a different version of a fictitious news story — one that praised Trump for his work in office in 2020, one that was critical of it, and one that was neutral. We also labeled the stories as coming from either Politico or Breitbart. We tested those particular media outlets in a previous survey and found that respondents recognized them as neutral and conservative-leaning, respectively. The control group didn’t see any news story. (We debriefed the subjects later to inform them that the news story was fabricated for academic research only.)
Sadly (though not unexpectedly), it worked on some.
The results were particularly interesting when people in one of the experimental conditions saw an article from Breitbart criticizing Trump’s job performance. After reading that, some 45% of respondents said they would wave a wand to make Trump president, but just 35% wanted him to be the GOP nominee. What was a 5-point electability gap in the control condition turned out to be a 10-point gap in this one. The beneficiary of this experiment was overwhelmingly DeSantis.
While Trump beats DeSantis in the magic wand contest 45% to 21%, his advantage over DeSantis in terms of the nomination is far narrower — 35% to 28%. The intervention — a conservative publication expressing concerns about Trump — turned a coronation into an actual contest. This should be a serious worry for Trump.
Corporate media is very aware that despite the lack of trust Americans have in them, the people can still be swayed if they can get their anti-Trump propaganda in front of them. Perhaps the most important takeaway is that smaller corporate media outlets like Politico and Breitbart apparently have more credibility than legacy media. This makes sense, considering these sources are less concerned about pretending to be unbiased. Breitbart readers know the outlet leans right and Politico readers know the outlet leans left.
The powers-that-be will use whatever advantage they can find to manipulate people into doing what they want. This is why controlling the media has always been an important play for them. It’s also why more Americans need to wake up to the reality that if they want the truth, their best sources will be alternative, non-corporate media sites such as this one.
Image by Gary Varvel from IndyStar.