Conservative-leaning ‘fake news’ poll backfires

Respondents were asked to choose the winner of the first annual Fake News Trophy. The results were a bit surprising.

(CREDIT: AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
(CREDIT: AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

A poll conducted by the conservative-leaning Rasmussen Reports, published on Thursday, asked respondents to choose a winner of the first-ever “Fake News Trophy.” Voters were presented with a handful of options, including CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, and ABC — all outlets which President Trump has at one point deemed “fake news” — as well as White House favorite Fox News.

The winner of the 2017 Fake News Trophy, according to Rasmussen voters: Fox News. By a landslide.

The result might have been a bit surprising to the pollsters, given Rasmussen’s tendency to skew rightward in favor of Republican causes and candidates. The polling outlet let on as much in its summary on Thursday, shrugging off its own final tally and placing both Fox News and distant runner-up CNN in the same “winner” category.

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“Voters agree with President Trump that so-called ‘fake news’ is a serious problem in America today,” the polling company wrote, noting that 65 percent of those polled had responded as such. “If a Fake News Trophy were to be awarded this year, the winners should be Fox News or CNN depending on which political party you’re in.”

It’s true that respondents largely voted down partisan lines — according to Rasmussen, 53 percent of Democrats and a “plurality (42%) of voters not affiliated with either major party” chose Fox News as the winner, while only 24 percent of Republicans agreed. On the opposite side of the aisle, 40 percent of Republicans voted for CNN, while only 13 percent of Democrats and 24 percent of unaffiliated voters agreed.

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But that doesn’t take away from the fact that, overall, respondents overwhelmingly chose Fox News as the winner. Forty percent said the right-leaning media outlet should receive the first annual Fake News Trophy. CNN was voted runner up with approximately 25 percent of the vote. MSNBC, ABC, CBS, and NBC followed with 9, 4, 3, and 2 percent of the vote, respectively. Six percent of respondents said the award “should go to someone else”, Rasmussen noted, while 11 percent were undecided.

In other words, equating Fox News and CNN in terms of their “fake newsy-ness” probably wasn’t the best idea.

The poll follows Trump’s own call for a “contest” to determine which of the major news outlets should be awarded a Fake News Trophy. For the second time in as many years, he lost the popular vote.

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“We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me),” he tweeted on Monday. “They are all bad. Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!”

Unfortunately for the president, the Rasmussen poll did include his beloved Fox News, which last week he claimed was “MUCH more important in the United States than CNN.”

Better luck next time.