Saturday, October 1, 2016

Rasmussen Reports: Except for Clinton voters, people distrust fact checkers (Updated)

Hat tip to Power Line blog for highlighting the Rasmussen survey and thereby bringing it to our attention

A couple of days ago, I emailed Jeff D. sharing what I felt was one of the good things to come out of this election season: "(T)he media have allowed the mask to slip as perhaps it never has before."

The same type of thinking was apparently happening at Power Line blog at about the same time leading to a post about media credibility on Sept. 30, 2016:
If this year’s presidential election has a silver lining, it is the final demise of “mainstream media.” Which is not to say that liberal media are going away; they aren’t, of course. But liberal media’s claim to being mainstream–reliable, objective, fair, unlike fringe or partisan news sources–is gone forever. That is a good thing.
Making the good thing even better, the Power Line post shared some details about a new Rasmussen Reports survey showing that people do not trust media fact checkers. But there's an exception. Among Clinton voters, 59 percent trust the fact-checkers:
Eighty-eight percent (88%) of voters who support Trump in the presidential race believe news organizations skew the facts, while most Clinton backers (59%) trust media fact-checking. Among the supporters of Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein, sizable majorities also don’t trust media fact-checking.

These findings are no surprise given that voters think it's far more likely reporters will try to help Clinton than Trump this election season
Rasmussen makes the percentages of Johnson and Stein supporters who trust fact checkers available to its platinum subscribers. We'd report the numbers if Rasmussen had published them.

This finding ought to serve as a wake up call to media fact checkers. If a relatively slim majority of one party's voters place their trust in you while the others do not, there exists a fundamental problem of credibility. Yet credibility is the only currency for fact-checkers.

Though PolitiFact Bias is not widely read (yet), we think the survey shows most people see, at least to some extent, the same problems we see with PolitiFact and its fact-checking cohorts.

The fact checkers need to find out about this trust gap and figure out how to shrink it.

May we suggest they start by visiting PolitiFact Bias for a few ideas?


Update Oct. 2, 2016

We missed a version of the story from The Hill, which reports less than a third of Americans trust fact checkers:
A survey of likely voters by Rasmussen Reports shows just 29 percent trust media fact-checking of candidates, while 62 percent believe news organizations twist the facts to help candidates whom they appear to support.
We would love to see a survey that compared public trust in each of the mainstream fact checkers.

So far, we haven't noticed any fact checker acknowledging this story. Perhaps that will change on Monday.

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