Thus far, it appears Donald Trump’s foremost priority as president of the United States has been to discredit the news media—chiefly CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, all four of which have produced reportage unfavorable to his administration.
Twitter has been the platform of choice for this mission. On Wednesday (July 12), responding to a report by the Times alleging campaign misconduct on the part of his son, Donald Trump Jr., the president broadly accused the media of contriving sources and quotes.
These unapologetic attacks on the press from the Oval Office are pretty much unprecedented in modern times. And while they do seem to coincide with record-low trust in media with American viewers, it seems Trump’s social-media antics have done more to damage his own presidential brand than further tarnish the media’s collective public image.
A new poll compiled by Politico and the Morning Consult finds that only 52% of Americans trust the credibility of the White House, fully or somewhat; while only 46% generally trust the president himself. Compare that to Americans’ trust in Trump’s least-favorite media outlets: 54% of Americans view CNN and MSNBC as very or somewhat credible; 56% say the same for The Washington Post, 57% for The New York Times.
President Trump still garners the most comparable mistrust among Americans, with 33% saying they find him “not at all” credible. However, these figures suggest his war on particular outlets—CNN, MSNBC, the Times, and the Post—is having a measurable, albeit relative impact on their reputations. Network news outlets like NBC, ABC, CBS, and PBS enjoy the most trust with American viewers, perhaps because they are so often overlooked in the president’s social-media tirades against the press.
All in all, it’s a grim picture for reporters and White House staffers alike.