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Join TSPR for a weekly conversation about media issues. News Director Rich Egger and expert panelists discuss what’s in the news about the news business.

Poll: Americans Think There is A Lot of Fake News

The Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) reported on a survey conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in early March.  The RTDNA said the results, which were released in early April, show 77% of Americans believe responsible journalists report "fake news" at least occasionally, and 31% believe journalists report "fake news" regularly.

Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Crighton said it was scary to read that the poll also found 42% of Americans believe responsible journalists intentionally report “fake news” in order to push an agenda. She said that’s something she’s never done and she’s never taught her students to do that.

Crighton also said she believes the term “fake news” means something different to everybody.

Panelist Rich Egger said the terms “journalist” and “media” seem to be interchangeable in the minds of some people.  He wondered if some poll respondents considered bloggers and commentators to be the same as reporters.

Egger said the only agenda pushed by responsible journalists is to hold the powerful accountable, report facts, and be accurate.

Panelist Will Buss said he was surprised by the poll’s findings.  He said reporters don’t get together to conspire on stories designed to shock audiences and get attention. 

Buss said news consumers should educate themselves about which news outlets provide necessary information and which ones cast nothing more than aspersions and commentary.

Jasmine Crighton is News Director of NEWS3 at Western Illinois University and Will Buss is the Director of Student Publications at WIU.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.