According to a survey by the Monmouth University Polling Institute, the vast majority of Americans believe that mainstream media outlets report “fake news.”
A whopping 77 percent of over 800 respondents relayed their distrust for major news organizations in both television and print — a marked increase from the 63 percent that was already skeptical a year ago. Of those, 31 percent believe it to be a regular occurrence, while 46 percent see it as a more occasional issue.
83 percent of those questioned believe that special interest groups intentionally seek to implant the mainstream news cycle with false information. Moreso, 87 percent believe that those same forces influence social media such as Facebook, as well as YouTube.
Suspicion is not divided along party lines, though differences still exist. While Republicans are most convinced of the media’s impure intentions, with a pervasive 89 percent distrusting mainstream news networks, Democrats are now 61 percent in agreement, up double digits from just 43 percent a year ago. Those not affiliated with either party maintain a healthy skepticism of their own. Last year, 66 percent of independent voters already distrusted the media. This year, it has risen to 82 percent.
The definition of what constitutes “fake news” varies, however. While 65 percent of Americans classify “fake news” as anything from inaccuracy to larger editorial decisions about what is and is not covered, 25 percent specified that it must be information which is factually untrue.
President Donald Trump has been calling out his and the American people’s distrust in the media since his campaign. In his latest Twitter commentary, Trump derided the media over the Sinclair Broadcasting debacle: “So funny to watch Fake News Networks, among the most dishonest groups of people I have ever dealt with, criticize Sinclair Broadcasting for being biased,” he said. “Sinclair is far superior to CNN and even more Fake NBC, which is a total joke.”