Many Americans Believe Fake News Is a Bigger Problem Than Racism, New Poll Finds

Illustration for article titled Many Americans Believe Fake News Is a Bigger Problem Than Racism, New Poll Finds
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Before an orange-tinged carnival barker began waging a war with the news media and Russian troll farms began spewing misinformation across social media to help said carnival barker ascend to the White House, the quality of news probably ranked fairly low among the things most Americans typically worried about.


But a recent Pew Research poll revealed that half of Americans think that made-up news is a “very big problem in the country today” and that more Americans think fake news is a bigger problem than racism, climate change, illegal immigration, terrorism, and sexism.

Yes, that’s right: at a time when the number of hate crimes—fueled in part by the racist rhetoric of President Donald Trump—have increased three years in a row, many folks view fake news as a bigger issue, which makes sense if you consider many of those polled probably dismissed the hate-crime news as “fake.”

Not surprisingly, concerns about made-up news fall along partisan lines, with a strong majority (62 percent) of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents reporting that fake news is a big problem compared to Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (40 percent).

And Republicans are more likely to blame journalists (58 percent) for creating fake news than Democrats (20 percent). But Republicans place a significant amount of blame (73 percent) on activist groups for fake news, almost twice the rate of Democrats (38 percent). Both sides (Democrats: 53 percent; Republicans: 63 percent) blame politicians and their staff for spreading fake news.

The Daily Dot notes the irony of Republicans’ concerns over fake news when they’re the group more likely to share it from social media sites like Facebook.


Interestingly, most Americans don’t blame journalists for creating fake news (about 36 percent do) but many (53 percent) do believe journalists are the most responsible for fixing it.

Which makes you wonder: Who do Americans think will fix a problem like racism?

Genetta M. Adams is Managing Editor of The Root.



I had an argument with a guy today about how racism and violent domestic attacks are on the rise. He asked for proof so I gave him a few links to CNN and Vox describing Charleston Church shooting, the jewish mass shooting (cant remember the name, and information about Trump tweeting that CNN was the “Enemy of the people” on the VERY day that they got a bomb in the mail. He called it FAKE NEWS because it was CNN and VOX. He hates Trump too but him and apparently a bunch of other people think that because CNN reported on it that it was fake news.

As if a political bias has any effect on the events themselves. I knew him in high school and he’s not dumb. So I can only assume that people are willfully ignoring it. They just don’t give a shit. He also said that because we had a black president for 8 years that white supremacy couldn’t be on the rise. I had to point out that it had probably HELPED Trump get elected.

I’ve talked with people from most political spectrums at this point. We’re definitely fucked until white people become a minority or enough of the middling boomers die. Ignorance is easier I guess.