August 8, 2018

New poll: 43 percent of Republicans want to give Trump power to shut down media

It's not just Republicans.

The latest Ipsos poll, while showing a plurality of Republicans approving presidential power to shut down certain news outlets "engaged in bad behavior," finds support among swaths of Democrats and Independents as well.

And 72 percent of all polled think it should be easier to sue journalists who knowingly publish false information, including 85 percent of self-identified Republicans and 63 percent of Democrats.

In his story on the poll, The Daily Beast's Sam Stein wrote that the results reflected "the extent to which Trump’s anti-press drumbeat has shaped public opinion about the role the media plays in covering his administration."

The poll, taken of 1,003 American adults from Aug. 3-6, shows almost a third of respondents (29 percent) agree with the idea that “the news media is the enemy of the American people.” That includes a plurality of Republicans (48 percent). Although 43 percent of Republicans wanted to give Trump the power to shutter "bad" media outlets, that percentage fell to 23 percent when outlets such as CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post were mentioned.

Looking deeper into the results shows some hope for journalists. Eighty-five percent of all respondents agree that the “Freedom of the press is essential for American democracy” — and two-thirds say reporters should be free of government or business pressure. Fifty-nine percent of all respondents, including a plurality of Republicans, said that they believed news and reporters were “necessary to keep the Trump administration honest.”

However, only 46 percent of those polled agree “most news outlets try their best to produce honest reporting" (68 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of Republicans).

Ipsos said the poll has a margin of error among all respondents of 3.5 percent.

Quick hits

RACIST ON FOX?: Fox News says it is addressing racist comments on one of its weekend shows. Host Jesse Watters failed to stop an anti-Asian comment from a guest regarding newly hired New York Times journalist Sarah Jeong. Commentator Terrence K. Williams said “I don’t know if this lady is Chinese, Japanese or crazy-nese,” which Watters appeared to laugh off. Watters did cut off Williams after the guest said, “There is something wrong with them fortune cookies that Ling Ling’s eating.” Following previous criticism, network CEO Suzanne Scott had instructed her top producers to be prepared for and to stem any such moments.

FINISHING THE JOB: A slain Capital Gazette editor began the feature about a long-abandoned missile site in Annapolis. Another reporter finished it, a reminder that community service transcends tragedy.

WHOSE HANDLE IS IT ANYWAY?: The Roanoke Times is suing a former sportswriter for his Twitter handle. The newspaper argues that Virginia Tech beat reporter Andy Bitter, on Twitter the past eight years, should have turned over his @andybitterVT account, with 27,200 followers, to the paper when he left. Bitter now covers Virginia Tech for the sports site The Athletic. (Readers, where do you stand on ownership of Twitter handles? Let me know at

SNEAKY PUBLISHER: The New York Observer’s publisher secretly deleted unflattering stories about his friends without telling his editorial staff, BuzzFeed News reported. That publisher? Jared Kushner.

DISTURBING STUDY: "Women in news face various forms of online harassment, from sexist remarks and inappropriate requests to threats of rape," writes Denise-Marie Ordway for Journalist's Resource. The study was led by Gina Masullo Chen, an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. "The women in our study really wanted more support from the editors and supervisors. They wanted to be believed. They wanted their news organizations to take action," Chen said. (h/t Ann Marie Lipinski)

DROPPED: The Alex Jones Infowars page on LinkedIn and Pinterest after other platforms cited “hate speech” in dropping Infowars content, CNBC reports. Twitter and Periscope still carry material from the conspiracy site.

LAUNCHING TODAY: Season 2 of the unexpectedly popular Slate podcast "Slow Burn," which will look at the Bill Clinton scandal and the move toward impeachment. Season 1 focused, with surprising relevance, on the Watergate scandal. We'll talk with host Leon Neyfakh in coming days. 

SPEAKING OF PODCASTS: Here's a unscientific but useful graphic by Alex Sujong Laughlin, a BuzzFeed audio producer, mapping out the popular news podcast landscape. (h/t Daniel Funke)

What we’re reading

LEARNING FROM CALIFORNIA: It’s Sweden, suddenly fire-ravaged, too. By Lizzie Johnson of the San Francisco Chronicle.

THE TOOL FACEBOOK WANTED US TO KILL: Gizmodo began digging into Facebook’s creepy People You May Know feature. Facebook didn’t like that, but First Amendment experts argue the data belong to the people, not to Facebook. 


Want to get this briefing in your inbox every weekday morning? Sign up here.

Got a tip, a link, a suggestion? We’re trying to make this roundup better every day. Please email me at or reach me @dabeard.

Have a great Thursday.

Support high-integrity, independent journalism that serves democracy. Make a gift to Poynter today. The Poynter Institute is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and your gift helps us make good journalism better.

More News

Back to News