America's 238th birthday brought us several pieces of good news, chief among them a record-shattering stock market, the longest period of sustained private sector job creation ever, and ... and this:
Incidentally, the only major American institution polled that ranked lower than TV news was... drumrolls, please... Congress.
Some time ago, I wrote a piece entitled "What the Polls are Really Saying: GOP Tanking Faster than They Can Drag Down Obama and Dems". In light of the latest revelations from Gallup, it seems the title would be just as fitting if "TV News" were substituted for "GOP".
That's not all. Follow the timeline of the collapse with me.
Again: "TV news has seen confidence ebb from its high of 46% in 1993..." The trendline from the graph from Gallup reveals something else: the fast demise of TV news really started after the 1990s, or in the first decade of the 21st century.
So what began in the 1990s and took off in the 2000s that could possibly explain the trendline going from essentially flat to steadily downward? This might explain it: on October 7, 1996, Fox News came into existence. And it has been hell in the media landscape ever since. Fox News' very creation, as well as the rest of the media's cowtowing to conservative talking points in an attempt to outfox Fox News tracks quite nicely the demise of TV news.
Want more proof? The same poll showed that liberals are moderates trust newspapers more than TV news, while conservatives said the opposite. In what could be stinging indictment of those who use 2010 elections as a barometer to guestimate Democratic turnout for 2014, liberal confidence in TV news is down by a full 10 points since 2010 (25% then to 15% now), while liberal confidence in newspapers is at the same level as 2010 (roughly 35%). And as popular as Ariana Huffington fancies herself, no one really trusts "news" generated by Internet linkbait.
This could have a large impact in November. The precipitous decline of the popularity of TV news among liberals means that Democratic-leaning voters aren't just distrusting of Fox - which they have always been - but that they are also abandoning self-proclaimed "progressives" on MSNBC who have been known to tell liberals to shoot ourselves in the foot - I mean sit home for a midterm - so that the most progressive president in history could be "taught a lesson" for not checking all the boxes in the Left ideologue checklist.
This could be fantastic news for Democratic turnout in November. Already, conservatives are helping mobilize Democratic voters thanks to the Supreme Court's decision to put religious beliefs of corporations over the conscience of American women and John Boehner's boneheaded decision to sue President Obama for doing something while his party makes sure Congress does nothing. If liberals can resist the temptation to bathe ourselves in the dumbest possible electoral advisory emanating from Leftier-than-thou ideological talking heads, this election can be a big surprise for pundits.
I have said it before, and I will continue to say it until something changes: the sooner "TV news" - especially cable news - dies, the better for this country. One would think that a media so goading about taking stock of the president's approval rating would once in a while look at their own. One would think. But one would be wrong. Because in so thinking, one would be assuming that our TV news channels have a certain modicum of self-awareness, or at least some shame. One should know better.