A recent poll has suggested that majority of Americans believe that traditional news outlets knowingly and intentionally report false or misleading stories at least sometimes. 72 per cent of Americans responding to the Axios/SurveyMonkey poll said they believed this to be true, but nearly all Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (92%) are in agreement that “traditional major news sources report news they know to be fake, false or purposely misleading” “a lot” if not at least “sometimes.”
The survey data reveals that the sentiment is consistent across party lines: A majority of Republicans (92%), Independents (79%), and even Democrats (53%) are in agreement that “traditional major news sources report news they know to be fake, false or purposely misleading” “a lot” if not at least “sometimes.”
The poll matters because its data shows that trust in the media is heavily influenced by partisan politics, with Republicans being more skeptical of mainstream media than their Democratic and Independent counterparts. Other studies from Gallup and Pew Research Center have drawn similar conclusions.
The 2017 Gallup/Knight Foundation Survey on Trust, Media and Democracy show that most Americans believe it is now harder to be well-informed and to determine which news is accurate. They increasingly perceive the media as biased and struggle to identify objective news sources. They believe the media continue to have a critical role in our democracy but are not very positive about how the media are fulfilling that role.
The Gallup/Knight Foundation survey also showed that Media trust is highly influenced by partisanship, with Democrats largely trusting the media and Republicans distrusting, and that four in 10 Republicans consider accurate news stories that cast a politician or political group in a negative light to always be “fake news.”
The 2017 Pew Research Centre report similarly showed that Americans’ attitudes about the news media deeply divided along partisan lines. It said majority of Americans support news media’s watchdog role but Democrats are 47 points more likely than Republicans to support such role.
Most damning of the Axios/SurveyMonkey poll is that most Americans (65%) believe the media deliberately report false or misleading news because “people have an agenda”, while 30 pe rcent believe such stories are published due to laziness or “poor fact-checking”. Just 3 percent think “fake news makes headlines by accident.”
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