Accuracy in Media

The public seems to agree with President Trump that the mainstream media is responsible for the spread of fake news.

More than 3-in-4 respondents, or 77 percent, believe that traditional media outlets report fake news, according to a Monmouth University poll released Monday. The number is up sharply from last year, when 63 percent of respondents believed the media was responsible for fake news reports.

Among that group, 31 percent said they believed the media spreads fake news regularly while 46 percent said they do so occasionally.

Most Americans (65 percent) say that fake news applies to how the media make editorial decisions and what they choose to report with just 25 percent saying that it applies only to the spread of inaccurate information.

“These findings are troubling, no matter how you define ‘fake news.’ Confidence in an independent fourth estate is a cornerstone of a healthy democracy. Ours appears to be headed for the intensive care unit,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Fake news has become so prevalent that even a majority of Democrats (61 percent) believe the media disseminates it at least occasionally–up from 43 percent one year ago.  Republicans (89 percent) and independents (82 percent) lead the way in their belief that the media reports fake news at least occasionally.  Fifty-three percent of Republicans believe that they do so on a regular basis compared to 37 percent last year.

Eighty-three percent of Americans believe that outside groups are actively trying to plant fake stories in major publications, with 87 percent saying that they are trying to do so on social media sites like Facebook, and YouTube.

President Trump hasn’t been shy about expressing his opinion about fake news.

His opinion is now the majority opinion of those that were polled and that could be the death knell for the mainstream media as we have known it.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from March 2 to 5, 2018 with 803 adults in the United States.  The results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, N.J.

 




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