Multiple Polls Find Most Americans Still Trust the Media More Than Trump

March 9, 2017, 3:58 PM UTC
Donald Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Virginia Beach
Photograph by Alex Wong — Getty Images

Since the election, President Donald Trump and senior members of his administration have talked repeatedly about the “lying media,” a group the president says are the “enemy of the American people.” While this view plays well with Trump supporters, however, most voters seem to disagree—at least for now.

According to a weekly poll of voter attitudes done by Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, close to 60% of those surveyed disagreed with Trump’s view that certain media organizations are the enemy of the American people, a comment he made during a contentious speech earlier this year.

Among those who identified themselves as Republicans, about 80% agreed with Trump’s statement, while more than 85% of those who identified themselves as Democrats disagreed.

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For voters as a whole, 53% of those surveyed said that they trust the media more than the president to “tell you the truth about important issues.” And almost 90% said they believe it is either very important or somewhat important that the media hold public officials accountable.

A separate poll done by Morning Consult and Politico found that about half of those surveyed said they believe the media’s coverage of Washington and the Trump administration has been generally accurate.

However, there was widespread mistrust of the use of anonymous sources—something that has become a much greater part of the reporting on the Trump government, particularly in regards to its alleged ties with Russia, but also reporting about the president’s personal life and internal White House politics.

Only about 30% of those surveyed said that they think it is appropriate for the media to rely on anonymous sources—about half of those who were asked said that doing so is inappropriate. And almost 45% of those surveyed said they believe journalists fabricate sources.

As with the Quinnipiac poll, there are clear divisions along party lines: More than 60% of Republicans said they believe that the media invents sources, while only 24% of Democrats agreed.

A majority of those surveyed said that they don’t believe the administration should refuse to speak with specific media organizations just because they don’t like their coverage—something the Trump administration has been accused of doing. More than a third of Trump voters agreed this was wrong.

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