Fake news findings: About two-thirds of American voters regardless of their political ideology believe that fake news permeates the mainstream media.
That it is the conclusion of a poll by Harvard University’s Center for American Political Studies in collaboration with the polling firm Harris Insights and Analytics.
The findings were derived from an online survey of approximately 2,000 registered voters conducted in late May.
President Trump has famously branded CNN, in particular, as “very fake news” and has similarly scolded mainstream or legacy news organizations such as the New York Times and the Washington Post for scoops based on sketchy anonymous sources and leaks. He has also made it clear that he thinks the media has ignored the accomplishments of his administration in its first four months in favor of portraying it unfavorably.
A universal definition of fake news is somewhat elusive, however.
Upon returning from his overseas trip, Trump picked up on the fake news thread in a series of tweets (see below). The president has also previously described the news media as the “opposition party.”
Among the 65 percent of voters who think there is a lot of fake news going on according to the Harvard data, “That number includes 80 percent of Republicans, 60 percent of independents and 53 percent of Democrats,” The Hill explained.
Reacting to the survey results, Harvard-Harris co-director Mark Penn, who was a Hillary Clinton campaign strategist in 2000 and 2008, made this observation.
“Much of the media is now just another part of the partisan divide in the country with Republicans not trusting the ‘mainstream’ media and Democrats seeing them as reflecting their beliefs. Every major institution from the presidency to the courts is now seen as operating in a partisan fashion in one direction or the other.”
A separate survey by the same organization with an equal number of respondents revealed that 54 percent of Americans (and most Republicans and independents) reject the notion of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Sixty percent of those polled expect that a Donald Trump impeachment effort will go nowhere. Democrats largely buy into the Russia and the impeachment scenarios, however.
Elsewhere on the Ivy League university campus, a report from Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy suggests that media coverage in the first 100 days of the Trump presidency has been overwhelmingly negative on all issues based on an evaluation of CBS, CNN, NBC, Fox News, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and three European news outlets.
On CBS, CNN, and NBC, 93 percent of the coverage of the Trump administration was negative. The Times and the Post clocked in at 87 percent and 83 percent negative, respectively, with the WSJ publishing 70 percent negative stories. Contrary to popular perceptions, 52 percent of the Fox News coverage was also negative.
In contrast, Obama received almost 60 percent positive coverage during his first 100 days in office.
The Harvard think tank, which leveled some criticism at Trump as well, summarized its findings about President Trump and the media.
“Trump’s coverage during his first 100 days set a new standard for negativity. Of news reports with a clear tone, negative reports outpaced positive ones by 80 percent to 20 percent….Trump’s coverage during his first 100 days was negative even by the standards of today’s hyper-critical press…the sheer level of negative coverage gives weight to Trump’s contention, one shared by his core constituency, that the media are hell bent on destroying his presidency…”
In December 2016, the Washington Post had to walk back a story on so-called fake news websites because the story itself was apparently based on a fake research, Natural News recalled.
According to the Daily Caller, sourcing on the first-son-in-law Jared Kushner story in the Post has also raised questions.
“The Washington Post editors refuse to publicly release the smoking gun ‘anonymous letter’ that serves as the foundation of their sensational charge that White House advisor Jared Kushner sought a secret, back-channel to Russian officials…To date, there has been no independent verification the letter is real or that WaPo‘s description of its contents is accurate. The Washington Post editors also never explain why they withheld the letter…”
The Caller also pointed out that the New York Times, despite publishing the story, has never seen a copy of the James Comey memo that supposedly indicates that the president asked the former FBI director to drop the Michael Flynn investigation.
Do you think that the mainstream media is pushing fake news?
[Featured Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]