A plurality of Republicans said President Trump should have the authority to unilaterally shut down media outlets he doesn’t like, according to new polling published Tuesday by the Daily Beast.
The public opinion survey, conducted by Ipsos and provided exclusively to the site, found that almost half of all Republicans (43%) believe the president should be allowed to “close news outlets engaged in bad behavior.” Nearly a quarter of all people polled (26%) also agreed.
Asked whether they agree that “the news media is the enemy of the American people,” an attack line Trump has repeatedly used in recent weeks, more than a quarter of all those polled (29%) and almost half of all Republicans polled (48%) agreed.
Throughout his campaign and now his presidency, Trump has consistently presented the media as an unreliable, ill-intentioned, and outright evil force. His “fake news” bit has become catchphrase often employed by his supporters, who’ve clearly also bought into his jeer that the media is the “enemy.”
It doesn’t come as much surprise, then, that an overwhelming 79% of Republicans said they believe the media treats Trump unfairly. Only 29% of Republicans believe media outlets do their best to produce honest and well-intentioned reporting, compared to 68% of Democrats, the polling found. These numbers would seem to reflect Trump’s insistence that any criticism of his administration is “fake” or otherwise untrustworthy.
Of course, these are people who support the man who, at a crowded Pennsylvania rally, called journalists in attendance “horrible, horrendous people.” They support a man who once publicly mocked a reporter with a disability. What were we expecting?