Almost a third of Americans support Donald Trump’s belief that the media is an “enemy of the American people” and favour government restrictions on the press, according to a new survey.
Attacks on the press helped fuel Mr Trump’s presidential campaign, during which he frequently denounced the media and encouraged supporters to jeer reporters at rallies. He has continued to deride unfavorable coverage as “fake news” and assail news organisations that report it.
The President has previously said on Twitter that “ the FAKE NEWS media” was “the enemy of the American people” and the survey found that 31 per cent agreed that the media prevents political leaders from doing their jobs.
Those views were especially pronounced among supporters of the President, soaring to nearly two-thirds of respondents, according to the survey of 2,100 Americans carried out in early November by Poynter.
A smaller but still significant number of Americans — roughly a quarter — endorsed allowing the government to halt publication of “a story that government officials say is biased or inaccurate,” an extraordinary rebuke of precedent barring such government control of the media.
Despite the embrace of Mr Trump’s anti-press rhetoric, overall views of the media have actually improved. The survey found that just under half of Americans have either a great deal of confidence or a fair amount of confidence in the media, an increase over recent levels.
But that support fractured along party lines, with an overwhelming majority of Democrats (74 per cent) trusting the media against just 19 per cent of Republicans. Democratic faith in the media has surged since Mr Trump’s election.