7 in 10 Americans Believe Mainstream Media Publish Fake News: Poll

June 27, 2018 Updated: October 5, 2018

More than 7o percent of Americans believe traditional major news sources at least sometimes publish news that is fake, false, or purposefully misleading, according to recent Axios SurveyMonkey poll. Over 40 percent believed the media publish such stories frequently.

The poll, conducted online among around 4,000 adults, shows a credibility drought in legacy news outlets, a longstanding trend that has accelerated in recent years.

Over 90 percent of Republicans believed the media runs fake news at least sometimes, compared to over 50 percent of Democrats. Some 70 percent of Republicans said they believe it happens a lot, while only about 20 percent of Democrats did.

Two in three said they believed fake news is driven by an agenda rather than poor fact-checking. Almost nobody said they believed it happens by accident.

The majority of respondents were somewhat certain they could spot fake news, while some 20 percent were very certain and 20 percent not certain at all.

The preferred way to fact-check news was verifying facts through Google searches. A close second was sticking to trusted news sources. Less than 10 percent acknowledged they generally don’t fact-check.

The survey adds to findings of other pollsters. A majority of Americans couldn’t name a single objective news source, according to the 2017 Gallup/Knight Foundation Survey. Sixty-six percent said most media don’t do a good job of separating fact from opinion. About 40 percent thought this way in 1984.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly called some of the largest media outlets—CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, The New York Times, and The Washington Post—fake news.

He’s used the phrase “fake news” 196 times in his tweets, according to the Trump Twitter Archive.

“People realize that a lot of what you read and a lot of what you see on television is fake. They realize it. The people are smart,” Trump said during his May 4 speech at the annual National Rifle Association meeting.

The Republican Party even announced the “Fake News Awards” in January, listing 10 examples of news stories, some of them with major implications, that turned out to be misleading or outright false.


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