News & Politics

Poll: Independents Closer to Republicans Than Democrats in Distrusting the Media

(Image Credit PJ Media/Ed Driscoll)

According to a new poll, a vast majority of Americans say that the media intentionally reports fake news, knowing that it is false or misleading.

When asked, “How often do you think news sources report news they know to be fake, false or purposefully misleading?” a whopping 72 percent of Americans overall said, “a lot” or “sometimes.” Only 25 percent said the media “rarely” or “never” intentionally reports fake news.

The Axios and Survey Monkey poll, released Wednesday, found self-identified independents closer to Republicans than Democrats on the issue. Only 53 percent of Democrats said the media intentionally reports fake news “a lot” or “sometimes,” while a whopping 92 percent of Republicans said so. Nearly four-in-five independents (79 percent) said the media frequently reports twisted, false, or misleading news.

The gap between independents and Republicans was only 13 points, while the gap between independents and Democrats ended up being twice that, at 26 points.

It is possible for liberals and conservatives to fundamentally disagree about what news outlets are most guilty of pushing fake news, while still agreeing that this twisting of the truth happens frequently. Democrats and liberals distrust Fox News, while Republicans and conservatives often cast their suspicions against CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.

All the same, the data does suggest that Republicans are more skeptical of the mainstream media than Democrats. You don’t say!

This distrust makes sense. President Trump infamously handed out “Fake News Awards” last year, and most if not all of them were extremely well-deserved. PJ Media found at least eight specific mainstream media attacks on conservative Christianity last year. Just yesterday, The New York Times published an op-ed defending harassment of Trump administration officials on the grounds that the president is a “professional racist.”

Also yesterday, outlets like NPR misrepresented the key free speech case NIFLA v. Becerra as getting pregnancy resource centers out of the duty to “more fully disclose what they are,” as if refusing to advertise for abortion constituted lying to customers.

Republicans have good reasons to mistrust the mainstream media, and so do independents. In many ways, the media has transformed into a political organ of the Democratic Party’s #Resistance to President Trump. While the president has many questionable statements and some questionable policies, the Trump derangement syndrome that pervades the media is terrifying, and helps build incivility against anyone who disagrees.

It says a great deal about CNN, for example, that it posted the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate map” uncritically. Earlier this month, the SPLC paid out $3.4 million to Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz, admitting that it falsely slandered him as an “anti-Muslim extremist.” Its “hate” labels have inspired at least one terrorist attack, and it sits at the nexus of America’s rising incivility.