People believe politicians are most responsible for made-up news, but journalists are the ones who must fix it

June 7, 2019
Category: Newsletters

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Happy Friday, everyone. Here’s what’s catching my attention in the media world today.

The blame game

A majority of U.S. adults believe that politicians create fake news and journalists should fix it

Fake news.

That has become a too-often-used phrase. Mostly, it’s nothing more than someone defining a report that they simply don’t agree with or like.

But there really is something that can be defined as fake news. It’s news that truly is made up and just not true. And it’s a problem, at least according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center. Those polled (more than 6,100 U.S. adults) believe it’s a bigger issue than terrorism, illegal immigration, racism and sexism.

So, whom do we blame for it? And who can fix it?

Well, according to Pew’s research, people believe politicians are most responsible for made-up news, but journalists are the ones who must fix it.

When asked if politicians and their staffs “create a lot of made-up news and information,” 57% said yes and 53% agreed that activist groups also make up news. When asked if journalists do, only 36% agreed.

But when asked who should fix it, 53% said journalists, followed by the public (20%), the government (12%), tech companies (9%) and “none of these” (5%).

The Pew research has several other interesting findings, but these stood out to me:

Nearly two-thirds polled (64%) say political divides in this country are the biggest hurdle in addressing the problem of made-up news. Meanwhile, what is the made-up news about? Those polled said it’s mostly two topics: politics/elections and entertainment/celebrities.

One final note: people tend to think that most made-up news involves national issues (58%) rather than local (18%). That confirms other polls that suggest news consumers trust local news more than national news.

Scott Pelley, then anchor of “CBS Evening News,” in 2013. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

Juicy rumor out of CBS

The New York Post reports on secret meetings and attempted job sabotage

Scott Pelley, then anchor of "CBS Evening News," in 2013. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

Did CBS’s Scott Pelley try to stop Susan Zirinsky from taking over “60 Minutes” last fall? The New York Post’s Alexandra Steigrad reports that Pelley, a correspondent at “60 Minutes,” met with then CBS interim chief executive Joe Ianniello to demand that Bill Owens, who was heading up “48 Hours” at the time, take over “60 Minutes” instead of Zirinsky.

Zirinsky never took over “60 Minutes.” She got a better promotion: president of CBS News. And she did pick Owens to take over “60 Minutes.”

A CBS spokesperson told the Post that Pelley and Owens denied any meeting took place. And, in a statement, Pelley said he advocated for Zirinsky to become the boss at CBS News.

Last month, Pelley told CNN’s Brian Stelter that he lost his anchor chair on the “CBS Evening News” because of his constant complaints and warnings about the network’s hostile work environment. Pelley also praised Zirinsky for improving work conditions at CBS.

From pictures to podcast

A weekly podcast will ‘eavesdrop within the walls of National Geographic’

(Photo courtesy of National Geographic.)

National Geographic is getting into the podcast game with a series called “Overheard at National Geographic.”

Vaughn Wallace, National Geographic senior photo editor, will host the short-form podcast that will run approximately 15 to 20 minutes and discuss the inner-workings of Nat Geo, while also conversing with explorers, scientists and reporters. The first season will begin next Tuesday, with new episodes released each Tuesday. An eight-episode season will air each quarter.

“As a kid growing up in Washington, D.C., I used to dream about what it was like to work at National Geographic, a place teeming with real-life adventurers, photographers and scientists — and I know I’m not the only one,” Wallace said in a statement. “With ‘Overheard,’ we’ve created a way for listeners to join the distinct, awesome conversation that could only happen right here. It’s super exciting to let audiences around the world peer behind the curtain and eavesdrop within the walls of National Geographic.”

The first episode will be available on Apple, Google, Tune In, iHeart, Spotify and Stitcher.

Not a weekly anymore

Just don’t call it ‘Entertainment Monthly’

Entertainment Weekly isn’t going to change its name, but it won’t be a weekly magazine much longer. Starting in August, the magazine will publish monthly. July 5 will be the last weekly edition. The Hollywood Reporter reports that, as part of the change, EW will pump up its presence on digital, social, video and experimental platforms.

Hot type

A list of great journalism and intriguing media

Have feedback or a tip? Email Poynter senior media writer Tom Jones at

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