To read the headlines published by major news outlets throughout the United States, Donald Trump has had a horrible week. NBC News even published a story with a headline suggesting Trump may have had the worst week in the history of presidential politics. The Huffington Post published a headline saying Hillary Clinton has had a “great” week.

Imagination vs. fact

The editors who wrote the headlines may be engaged in wishful thinking rather than the gathering of facts. One of the most closely watched monitors of public opinion is the average of opinion poll results maintained by Real Clear Politics.

On Sept. 26, the day of the first presidential debate, the average of the polls had Clinton at 46.7 percent, and Trump at 44.3 percent. Early Sunday morning, the average was 47.5 percent for Clinton and 44.4 percent for Trump. According to poll averages, Clinton had a 2.4-percent lead going into the debates, and a 3.1-percent lead almost a week later. Considering the announced margins of the polls, which range from 1.1 to 4.5 percent, the findings are not mathematically significant, and the election is about where it was a week ago.

Middle America doesn’t care about New York

Journalists tend to inflate their degrees of influence within their own minds. They live in a journalistic world and are very much in tune with what members of the media are writing, but they incorrectly assume everyone else is watching.

The New York Times, as an example, can be fairly said to not have a friendly attitude toward Trump. The Times has endorsed Clinton and regularly generates headlines intended to be embarrassing to Trump. Now that almost everyone in the United States has access to the Times because of the internet, the Times’ impact must be greater than ever, right?

Not really, according to Google Trends, which finds search traffic for the Times remains heaviest in New York, Vermont, Connecticut, the District of Columbia and Massachusetts. These states are largely Clinton’s territory, anyway, and the emergence of the internet has not resulted in a sudden, high regard for New York opinions in swing states.

People don’t like reporters

Support for Trump is not at an all-time low, but trust in the news media is. On Sept. 14,, Gallup released a poll stating that only 32 percent of Americans “have a great deal or a fair amount of trust in the news media.” Moses may have been able to lead people who did not like him to the Promised Land, but the average journalist is no Moses.

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