Media shows why it’s so mistrusted after falsified Trump fish-feeding ‘story’

It happened again — major media outlets and reporters getting caught red-handed misleading the public. 

And in this case, it was all over arguably the stupidest thing possible. 

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You may have read by now that President TrumpDonald John TrumpFamily immigration detention centers could be at capacity within days: report Trump likely to meet with Putin in July: report DOJ requests military lawyers to help prosecute immigration crimes: report MORE decided to dump a whole box of fish food into a koi pond while on his 13-day Asia trip. The implication, of course, is that a graceless brute like Trump has no idea about foreign customs and/or cares about the environment. 

 

Here's a few examples:  

Bloomberg's White House reporter:

New York Magazine: Trump Under Fire for Improper Fish-Feeding Technique

Jezebel:

CNBC’s Christina Wilkie (in a now-deleted tweet): “Trump and Japanese PM Shinzo Abe were scheduled to feed koi spoonfuls of food. Until Trump poured his entire box of fish food into the pond.” 

New York Daily News: Photo of Donald Trump dumping fish food into koi pond during Japan visit draws Obama comparisons 

The Guardian: “White House reporters, keen perhaps to pick up on a Trump gaffe, captured the moment when he upended his box on their smartphones and tweeted evidence of his questionable grasp of fish keeping. Some speculated that a poor palace employee would be dispatched to the scene to clean up the mess as soon as the two leaders disappeared inside.”

CNN: Trump feeds fish, winds up pouring entire box of food into koi pond

The CNN example includes edited video that zooms in on Trump to only show his face and prevents the viewer from seeing what Japanese Prime Minister Abe was doing at a key point of the short event.  

Why was Abe edited out? Perhaps because he took his entire box of fish food and dumped it into the pond. Trump followed Abe's lead and did the same seconds later.   

In other words — nothing to see here. 

But with the zoom edit cutting Abe out, the viewer or reader — with an assist from the caption — is led to believe only Trump dumped his box. 

So with this latest gaffe from numerous outlets in today's effort to make the president look like a dolt, it's another black eye for an industry that resembles Apollo Creed's face during his fatal fight against Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. 

So the obvious question is this: Why pick a fight with Trump — who is mostly polling in the 30s and has no major legislative victories despite having majorities in the House and Senate — over something so ridiculous as fish-feeding? By doing so, it only perfectly makes the argument for Trump that the media is not only overwhelmingly negative in covering him, as study after study shows, but it's at times also hostile, adversarial and — most importantly in this case — fake. 

How bad is the damage on the fake front? Check out this poll provided exclusively to The Hill from Harvard University and Harris, which shows 65 percent of Americans think there is a lot of fake news in the mainstream media.

The sentiment is carried by a majority across party lines, with 80 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of independents and 53 percent of Democrats stating such. Even more telling, 84 percent of voters said it is hard to know what news to believe online.

Bob Woodward probably gave the best advice during his speech at this year's White House Correspondents Dinner. 

"Whatever the climate, whether the media’s revered or reviled, we should and must persist, and, I believe, we will," the Watergate legend said. 

"We also need to face the reality that polling numbers show that most Americans disapprove of and distrust the media. This is no time for self-satisfaction or smugness," 

Our media can't afford any more of this kind of reporting marinated in the kind of smugness Woodward has keenly noticed. 

It needs to be almost perfect. And when mistakes are made, it needs to own up to them. 

Another day, another example of media bias. 

Oftentimes that bias is subtle. 

But in this feeding frenzy, it was not only blatantly overt, but intentional in its deception. 

Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) is a media reporter for The Hill.