US

Half of Americans say Fake News is Bigger Problem Than Terrorism: Study

By Miguel Moreno

A study shows that half of  Americans believe that “made-up news/info,” which we will call fake news, is a bigger problem than illegal immigration, violent crime, and terrorism.

The study was conducted by the Pew Research Center, which published its findings on June 5. As well as listing key issues of concern, the 7-in-10 adults said fake news “greatly impacts” the trust people have in the government.

“U.S. adults blame political leaders and activists far more than journalists for the creation of made-up news,” reads the study.

While regular adults primarily blame politicians, politicians themselves were surveyed and also had similar opinions.

Fake News in Politics

A little over half of Democrats said political leaders were to blame for producing fake news. And Republicans: 10 percent more.

However, over half of Republicans said that journalists, activists groups, and politicians were to blame—with activists groups (73 percent) at the summit. This is a stark difference from Democrats, who only surpassed 50 percent on one category out of five: politicians.

President Donald Trump has made a point during his presidency to call out the media, which he believes produces fake news. Recently, he was asked about a protest against his visit to London, which he said was exaggerated in the media.

trump with theresa may
President Donald Trump and Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May hold a joint news conference in London on June 4, 2019. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

“I heard that there were protests, I said, ‘Where are the protests? I don’t see any protests,'” said Trump, next to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May. “I did see a small protest when I came—very small. So a lot of it is fake news, I hate to say it.”

Trump added that he also saw people waving the American flag and the United Kingdom flag, calling it “tremendous spirit and love.”

What Can Be Done?

As for a solution, over half of the study participants believe that journalists have “the most responsibility in reducing” the amount of fake news.

In the meantime, Americans are taking their own steps in defending against fake news.

Almost 8-in-10 American reported fact-checking what they read. Over half stopped watching whichever media produced fake news.