A new survey of nearly 4,000 Americans suggests that Donald Trump’s “fake news media” mantra is resonating with the vast majority of Americans.
In rather eye-opening fashion, a new Survey Monkey/Axios poll found that nearly three-quarters (72%) of Americans believe that traditional news outlets either “sometimes” or “a lot” of the time publish stories they know to be “fake, false or purposely misleading.” Only 25% thought that news outlets did so “rarely” or “never.”
Opinion varied widely among political affiliation; however, a majority of all three groups — Republicans, Democrats and Independents — agree that mainstream outlets are at times publishing deliberately misleading or outright false reports.
Both Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents say almost unanimously that fake news is a major problem among the traditional news outlets, some 92% saying outlets are guilty of it “a lot” or “sometimes.”
Democrats and Democratic-leaning Independents are less likely to say that, yet a majority (53%) still agree with Republicans. Nearly 4 out of 5 (79%) of Independents say the media is guilty of deliberately publishing misleading or fake news “sometimes” or “a lot.”
The survey also found that among those that think mainstream media reports false news, most believe it is deliberate. Axios reports:
- More than two-thirds (65%) say fake news is usually reported because “people have an agenda.”
- Roughly one-third (30%) believe such information is shared due to laziness or “poor fact-checking.”
- Hardly anyone (3%) thinks that fake news makes headlines by accident.
Roughly three-quarters of both Republicans and Democrats believe they can spot fake news and roughly half say they “stick to news sources they trust.” About 9% more Democrats (57%) say they take additional steps to verify facts through fact-checking websites like the left-leaning FactChek.org and Snopes.com.
So is all of this Trump’s fault? No. Poll after poll has found that trust in the traditional news has been eroding long before Trump announced his candidacy. But has Trump’s repeated blasting of the “fake news” and the media’s overtly biased response to Trump hastened that erosion? The evidence seems clear enough.