New data reveals that 36 percent of Americans will decide a news story is “fake” if they don’t agree with its politics and 20 percent don’t feel any news source is trustworthy
SAN FRANCISCO—August 15, 2017 – Bospar, the boutique PR firm that puts tech companies on the map, today announced the results of the Bospar Fake News Study. Fielded to over 1,000 American adults, the survey looked at the extent to which Americans understand “fake news” and how they determine what news sources are trustworthy.
Americans Confused About “Fake News”
Just about three-fourths (74 percent) of the American population understand what fake news is—namely, deliberate misinformation spread on social media and fake news sites designed to influence politics, and well over half—59 percent—admit they have read and believed a news story only to find out later that it was “fake news.”
But 57 percent of Americans are a bit confused, joining POTUS in his belief that fake news is misinformation deliberately created by main stream news sites, like CNN and MSNBC, a position held by many more Republicans (74 percent) than Democrats (46 percent).
Meanwhile, 19 percent of Americans think any negative coverage of President Trump is fake news, while 15 percent believe any positive coverage of President Trump is fake.
Indeed, politics play a key role in the conversation: when asked how they evaluate whether or not an article is “fake news,” 36 percent of Americans said it had to do with the political views of the source. Other ways that Americans determine whether or not an article is fake news include:
- Checking the URL for a weird domain name – 34 percent
- The reported news is either too good or too bad to be true – 32 percent
- By Googling the name of the journalist – 28 percent
- Considering the reputation of the person who shared the article – 24 percent
- By checking Snopes.com – 22 percent
- Looking for typos – 21 percent
Republicans are again swayed more heavily by politics than Democrats—44 percent said the political views of the source is an indicator of whether or not something is “fake news” compared to only 36 percent of Democrats. Men (41 percent) were also much more likely than women (32 percent) to consider the political views of the source an indicator of “fake news.”
In CNN Non-Republicans Trust
Americans are reading very different news sources based on their political party affiliations.
While 62 percent of Democrats consider CNN a trustworthy news source, only 22 percent of Republicans do; 57 percent of Democrats consider New York Times to be a trustworthy news source, but only 20 percent of Republicans do; 40 percent of Democrats think MSNBC is a trustworthy news source, but only 12 percent of Republicans do. Meanwhile, 53 percent of Republicans think Fox News is trustworthy, but only 29 percent of Democrats do.
There is likewise a split when it comes to which political commentators Americans think are trustworthy:
|Sean Hannity||24 percent||4 percent|
|Rush Limbaugh||24 percent||2 percent|
|Stephen Colbert||4 percent||17 percent|
|Trevor Noah||5 percent||13 percent|
|Seth Meyers||3 percent||11 percent|
Twenty-one percent of Republicans also consider Donald Trump’s Twitter feed to be a trustworthy news source, but only 4 percent of Democrats agree. Meanwhile, one-in-five Americans (20 percent) don’t think any news sources are trustworthy.
Americans Agree “Fake News” Is Dangerous
Americans are united in their concern that, if fake news is allowed to continue at current levels, trust in mainstream media will continue to erode (49 percent). They also worry about the erosion or disappearance of democracy (40 percent), terrorist incidents (40 percent) and war (36 percent).
Democrats worry that “fake news” will result in the re-election of President Trump (41 percent) while Republicans worry that it will result in his impeachment (27 percent).
Nearly half of Americans (47 percent) feel the U.S. government has been “not at all effective” in its efforts to investigate and eliminate “fake news,” while a third (33 percent) believe the efforts have been “somewhat effective.”
Bospar is a boutique tech PR firm featuring a team of highly seasoned professionals who exist to put tech companies on the map. Bospar’s principals include a longtime PR and tech industry guru, a former broadcast TV producer and award-winning media maven, a standout PR agency manager from the corporate side of a leading global law firm, and an experienced executive with both large agency and public company credentials. Bospar’s larger team includes experts in both social and traditional media, as well as financial and analyst relations and public affairs.
For more information, visit Bospar.com.