Skip to main content

Survey: Trump/Media Relationship Hurts Access to Political News

An adversarial relationship between an Administration and the press is nothing new, but the current one appears to have taken that to a new and troubling level.

The relationship between President Donald Trump and the news media is adversely affecting access to political news, according to a new Pew Research Center poll to be released Tuesday.

A large majority of the people polled (83%) say that the current "tensions" between the Trump Administration and the media are "generally unhealthy," with 73% saying that those tensions are "getting in the way" of access to "important political news." 

The President has accused mainstream outlets—including broadcast and cable news networks and major newspapers—of purveying fake news, of being in a conspiracy to delegitimize his presidency, and of doing the bidding of Democrats, criticisms usually leveled in 140 characters on Twitter but also in speeches and one notable press conference.

For example, over the weekend the President tweeted: "It is the same Fake News Media that said there is 'no path to victory for Trump' that is now pushing the phony Russia story. A total scam!"

There are currently multiple investigations into Russian interference in the election and possible ties to the Trump campaign, backed by both Democrats and some Republicans.

The President has called the news media the "enemy of the American people," though he has more recently praised Fox News for stories he liked.

Related: Pai Says News Media Not the Enemy

That feud between Trump and the media is on very public display. The survey found that more than 9 out of 10 people (94%) have heard about it.

That "unhealthy" view of the Trump/media relationship cuts across all demos and party affiliations, with 88% of Democrats saying it is generally unhealthy, 82% of independents, and 78% of Republicans. About the same number in each category (73%, 72% and 72%, respectively) say those tensions are getting in the way of access to important political news. Majorities are similar for education, income, race and gender.

Pew did not ask which side was to blame for the falling-out or how to resolve it. 

The survey was conducted March 13-27 among 4,151 respondents. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.