It’s been a rough few years when it comes to the subject of race in the United States. Sensationalized cases like Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Freddie Gray have led to riots, protests, and the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement. The shooting at a Charleston church last month led to a crusade against the Confederate Flag. Phrases like “white privilege” – known only to liberal academics a decade ago – have become commonplace. And a new poll from the New York Times and CBS News shows that Americans are keenly aware of the tension.

According to the poll, 61 percent of Americans believe that race relations are generally poor in the United States. A full 44 percent believe they are getting worse. The Times quoted one black cook in Georgia as saying racism against the president was largely to blame. “I’m not surprised it’s gotten worse under President Obama,” said Elizabeth Gamble. “Because he’s black – and so he already had that strike against him once he got into office.”

Let’s take a brief time-out to look at this fancy piece of media bias in action. It’s not often you get such an obvious example. Elizabeth Gamble isn’t a public figure. She’s not a political expert. She has written no books on the subject of race relations. There is no reason at all to quote her in the article except that she says what the author wants to get across. She might as well be a fictional character for all her importance to the story. Her quote serves as a way for the author to work in his own opinion without actually having to say it outright. This is how the “liberal media” works. It is real, and it is omnipresent.

Now back to your regularly-scheduled story.

It’s interesting, of course, that the New York Times would take the position that white backlash to Obama is the root cause of worsening race relations. Obama’s election was supposed to usher in the great new Post-Racial age in this country. We’d finally gotten over our slavery past and our reckless beliefs about African-Americans. We had become the colorblind society Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed about.

So what happened?

Perhaps the problem began when the left used every racial attack in the book to defend their liberal savior. Anyone who criticized young Mr. Obama was immediately painted as a racist. You would have thought that Republicans criticizing Democrats was a brand new concept. The media conveniently forgot the vicious attacks on Bill Clinton, to say nothing of the way the left lambasted George W. Bush on a regular basis. To hear them tell the tale, politics had been a colorful land of compliments and cuddling before Obama.

But the problems really began when the media invented a fictional narrative to hype Michael Brown’s death into something it wasn’t. Their lies inflamed a community and set whites on defense. They successfully persuaded 79 percent of black Americans (according to the poll) that police were more likely to use deadly force when arresting a black suspect, absent of any hard evidence. They have done this with the help of a handful of anomalous cases – at least some of which don’t even match their sensational claims. Even when the left deliberately cherry-picks their stories, they can’t find the evidence they need to make their case. Somehow, though, they have still managed to brainwash a generation of blacks and liberals into thinking America is still stuck in the days of Jim Crow.

Race relations are indeed worsening. Media outlets like the New York Times and CBS News should look in the mirror next time they want to figure out why.