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Most Americans support press freedom but many sympathize with Trump

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Republished with permission by Knowhere News

A new Ipsos poll, produced for the Daily Beast, found that 43 percent of Republicans, 12 percent of Democrats, and 21 percent of Independents would support granting President Donald Trump power to shut down news outlets “engaged in bad behavior.” Trump has verbally attacked the mainstream news media many times since he began running for president and has labeled outlets such as CNN and The Washington Post “fake news.”

The survey of 1,003 adults was conducted Friday through Monday, and also came up with results strongly supporting freedom of the press. First, 85 percent of Americans — including majorities of both Republicans and Democrats — agreed that “freedom of the press is essential for American democracy.” Sixty-eight percent agreed that “reporters should be protected from pressure from government or big business interests.” Fifty-seven percent said that they believed the news media and journalists were “necessary to keep the Trump administration honest” — including 39 percent of Republicans.

However, Republicans were much more likely than others to support limiting those freedoms. When asked if Trump should close down specific news outlets, including CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, 23 percent of Republicans agreed and 49 percent disagreed. Conversely, 74 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of Independents disagreed with that idea.

Forty-eight percent of Republicans agreed that “the news media is the enemy of the American people” (only 28 percent disagreed) and 79 percent agreed “the mainstream media treats President Trump unfairly.”

The poll’s sponsor, The Daily Beast, said “the findings present a sobering picture for the fourth estate,” and “illustrate the extent to which Trump’s anti-press drumbeat has shaped public opinion.”

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