October 17, 2016

Just when you thought Republicans and Democrats couldn’t agree on anything.

An overwhelming majority of supporters for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump agree that journalists should call attention to inaccurate statements made by both candidates, according to a new report from Pew Research Center.

According to a survey of 4,132 Americans conducted from Sept. 27 to Oct. 10, more than 70 percent of Trump supporters want journalists to “draw attention to claims that are inaccurate.” That number is slightly higher among Clinton supporters, with more than eight in 10 voters in favor of flagging falsehoods.

Supporters of Clinton and Trump were slightly more divided on the issue of fact-checking, with 70 percent of Clinton backers telling Pew the media had a “major responsibility” to fact-check. Just 53 percent of Trump supporters said the same.

This may be easier said than done, however, as both sides say they can’t agree on which facts to check:

At the same time, this sense of agreement on fact-checking may be simpler in theory than practice. A new Pew Research Center report found that roughly eight-in-ten voters – including nearly equal shares of Clinton and Trump supporters — say the two sides cannot agree on the basic facts of important issues.

The two camps were even further apart on the question of whether news organizations should call attention to offensive statements — Trump fans were split nearly in half on that question, and 72 percent of Clinton supporters were in favor.

The findings of Pew’s survey dovetail with an earlier poll released by Monmouth University on Sept. 26 in which 60 percent of respondents said they thought debate moderators should fact-check candidates who state false information during the debate.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
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