Before his victory in 2016, President Donald Trump charged that the American media was publishing and promoting “fake news,” then attacked outlets he felt were giving him negative air time and coverage, like CNN, The Washington Post, Univision, and others. Even yesterday, Trump took to Twitter to slam one of his favorite targets, the New York Times, because the outlet “incorrectly reported (as usual)” his walking back of a potential healthcare push before the 2020 election.
Nevertheless, it seems that this sentiment has caught on with the American people as 57 percent of the nation now believes the press publishes “fake news” to drive their political agenda. The “catastrophic” findings come from a poll conducted by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University, which was released Tuesday.
The poll states that 86 percent of Republican voters agree that “our nation’s major news organizations publish fake news stories for political purposes,” with 45 percent of Republican respondents rating their agreement with the statement as “10” on a scale from 0-10.
Among Democrats polled, 69 percent disagreed with the aforementioned statement, with 63 percent of independents also disagreeing.
Although 57 percent of the poll’s 1,001 likely 2020 presidential election voters said they agreed with the statement, a summary from the Wason Center noted that “the crisis of confidence in the media is largely being driven by Republicans.”
Furthermore, partisanship has hit a new record level with political majorities fighting against one another. The poll said that Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say that the opposing party’s views are dangerous, with 71 percent of Republicans in the poll noting that the views of Democrats “threaten the well-being of the country,” compared to 55 percent of Democrats who said the same about the GOP.
The figure shows a sharp increase since Pew Research Center asked a similar question five years ago. In 2014, the Pew Research Center’s Political Polarization in the American Public report found that 27 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of Republicans believed their political counterparts presented a “threat to the well-being of the country.”
“President Trump’s rhetoric appears to be having a massive impact on voter confidence in the media,” the survey’s administrator, Wason Center Assistant Director Rachel Bitecofer, said in a report from The Washington Examiner. “Although confidence in media has been declining for the past few decades, this represents a sharp decline in trust, which carries serious implications.”