Cain and media distrust

As regular readers know, political/partisan asymmetries that are generally assumed to actually be symmetrical (“everybody does it”) by the media and voters, really bug me.  In looking at the latest polling data on Herman Cain (via PPP) I’m struck  by a particularly consequential symmetry:

How is Cain holding up so well despite all the allegations swirling around him?  Mostly because voters don’t believe them- in Ohio only 17% think the accusations against Cain are ‘mostly true’ and that number is 22% in Mississippi and 17% in Iowa SD-18. There’s a lot of doubt about whether Cain’s really guilty of what he’s been accused of.

The doubt about Cain’s misdeeds seems to be driven by intense distrust of the media. 72% of Republicans in Ohio, 71% in Iowa Senate District 18, and 65% in Mississippi think the media has been mostly unfair to Cain. We also asked whether GOP voters thought the Obama campaign, one of the other Republican campaigns, or the media was most responsible for these allegations coming to the surface and a plurality of voters in all three states blame the media.

This is just nuts.  Not even Cain is alleging that the media has simply made up the stories of the sexual harassment settlements.  Maybe the women weren’t really sexually harassed, but the settlements of their claims by the National Restaurant Association is established fact.  ABC News, The New York Times, etc., did not make this up.  Yet is almost seems as if that’s what many conservative voters believe when you read various news stories.  Liberal voters may not like what the media has to report some of the time, but they haven’t been told by their elites to just ignore what they don’t like because of hopeless media bias.   We really end up with many conservatives living in an altnerate political reality where they only have to believe the stuff they hear on Fox news.   [I think this post makes sense, but blame any incoherence on a baby attacking me the whole time I’m typing]

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

2 Responses to Cain and media distrust

  1. Where were you when it was exposed that a liberal homosexual guy was promoted to education czar and admitted that he did not report to police a kid telling him that he had a homosexual teacher sexually abusing him or Clinton and his peccdillos?

    As I stated previously sometimes you settle a nuisance suit because it is cheaper than adjudicating. Cain’s resume is stellar in every effect especially compared to the Messiah AKA the dictator in chief.
    John Wilder

  2. mmetrics1 says:

    Studies have shown that those who had greater levels of exposure to news sources had lower levels of misinformation (http://wp.me/p1MQsU-5o). It’s not really just a “Fox-Watcher” phenomenon.

    And if you think it is “nuts” that Cain’s popularity remains strong despite the irrefutable evidence of settlements, I believe that is symptomatic of our political discourse. The trends towards absolute party unity and shock-jock journalism have polarized our dialog such that people cling to their embedded beliefs against all reason or logic.

    It’s a kind of cognitive super-dissonance that, frankly, is gumming up the works.

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