New polling indicates that a majority of Americans trust traditional media institutions over President Donald Trump. While news outlets won out over the commander in chief, the data also signals that there is a large deficit in public trust in the Fifth Estate, with a majority of respondents believing that even reputable sources publish fake stories.
On March 29, a Monmouth University poll found that 81 percent of national adults believe that Trump has a worse relationship with the media than his predecessors. And 58 percent of respondents said that this hurt the president's image while 51 percent believed that it also hurt the media's image.
The survey investigated how much respondents trusted Trump compared to mainstream media outlets ABC News, Fox News and MSNBC. All three beat out the president.
Fifty-three percent of respondents trusted ABC News more than Trump while 28 percent believed the president's word over the Disney-owned outlet. Thirty-seven percent said that they trusted Fox News over Trump while 17 percent were more inclined to get their information directly from him. Forty-seven percent of respondents sided with MSNBC, compared to the 33 percent who had more faith in Trump.
The data indicated that Republican-leaning respondents were much more likely to trust the president over these three news sources than their Democratic and independent peers.
"Most Republicans ... seem to assume that every source that isn't conservative must, by definition, have a liberal bias and is therefore less trustworthy," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University polling group. "There doesn't seem to be a middle ground for them."
The poll director added: "If you are a Republican, Trump is a font of truth. For other Americans, not so much."
The poll found that a majority of national adults believed that traditional media outlets reported on fake news stories. In fact, 27 percent of respondents said that fake news was published by reputable institutions on a regular basis while 36 percent said that fabricated stories were peddled only occasionally. Another 32 percent did not believe that mainstream outlets circulated fake news.
Thirty-nine percent of respondents asserted that traditional outlets that report on fake news do so in order to advance a political agenda while only 17 percent attributed instances of false reporting on incompetence.
"Many Americans believe that fake news is rampant across all types of media," Murray noted. "The main outcome of this phenomenon seems to be that all news media outlets are now eyed with suspicion."
On the same day that Monmouth University released its findings, Trump took to social media blast The New York Times, a newspaper that he has repeatedly accused of giving its readers inaccurate coverage against him.
"Remember when the failing [New York Times] apologized to its subscribers, right after the election, because their coverage was so wrong," Trump tweeted out. "No worse!"
The newspaper's communication team responded on its own Twitter account, stating that the editorial team had never issued such an apology. Following the election, The Times' publisher had stated that it had underestimated Trump's support but never apologized for its coverage, Politico reports.
On March 22, a survey conducted by Quinnipiac University found that only 35 percent of national adults believed that Trump was honest, ABC News reports.