fourth estate
August 7, 2018

More than 40 percent of Republicans believe that when President Trump castigates "fake news," he should be allowed to shutter certain outlets as punishment for "bad behavior."

A new poll conducted by Ipsos and published by The Daily Beast on Tuesday found that 43 percent of Republicans think Trump should have that authority, while 36 percent disagreed that he should be able to close news outlets. Smaller proportions of other groups also thought Trump should be the media watchdog-in-chief, with 12 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of independents saying the president should have that authority.

Meanwhile, 48 percent of Republicans agree with the president's assessment that "the news media is the enemy of the American people," with just 28 percent disagreeing. While many agreed that the "mainstream media treats President Trump unfairly," most Republicans did not think that Trump should specifically shut down CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

The general anti-press sentiment was somewhat in conflict with some of the poll's more general questions. When asked about whether the media industry as a whole was valuable, 57 percent of respondents said it's "necessary to keep the Trump administration honest," and 85 percent called freedom of the press "essential for American democracy."

The Ipsos poll was conducted August 3-6, surveying 1,003 adults who responded online. The credibility interval is 3.5 percentage points. See more results at The Daily Beast. Summer Meza

April 2, 2018

President Trump's favorite phrase has gone mainstream.

Major segments of Americans across the political spectrum believe that traditional media outlets report "fake news" at least occasionally, a Monmouth University poll published Monday found.

More than three-quarters of those polled — 77 percent — said that TV news networks and newspapers were involved in "fake news." Thirty-one percent said fake news is being reported "regularly," while 46 percent believe it is only "occasionally." The results represent an uptick in media skepticism: Monmouth University's 2017 poll found that only 63 percent of the public thought "fake news" was being reported at least occasionally.

A majority of those polled additionally believe that "fake news" involves more than just incorrect facts. Editorial decisions about what outlets choose to report were also considered a factor for 65 percent of Americans. The survey found that 86 percent of the public believes that online news websites report fake news, an increase from last year's 80 percent.

Those surveyed also overwhelmingly said that outside groups or agents are actively trying to plant fake news stories in mainstream media and social media, and a majority believed that it was a "serious problem."

"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.

The poll was conducted March 2-5 among 803 adults reached by phone. Its margin of error is 3.5 percentage points. See more results here. Summer Meza

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