Americans (especially Republicans) wary of fact-checkers

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Americans are divided on the fairness of media fact-checkers, with Republicans especially distrustful of those seeking to verify the accuracy of news articles, a survey showed Thursday.

The Pew Research Center survey showed that 50 percent of respondents said fact-checkers dealt fairly with all sides, while 48 percent said they favored one side.


The findings revealed a sharp partisan split on the topic: 70 percent of Republicans said they did not trust fact-checkers while 69 percent of Democrats expressed confidence in them.

“Republicans appear to have serious concerns about the fairness of these groups. Democrats, on the other hand, mostly think they are fair to all sides,” Pew researchers Mason Walker and Jeffrey Gottfried wrote.

Independents were almost evenly divided, with 47 percent saying fact-checkers tend to favor one side and 51 percent saying they deal fairly with all sides.

The survey comes amid a persistent onslaught by US President Donald Trump, who has claimed that major media organizations are biased and misrepresent the news and has labeled some the “enemy of the people.”

The poll also showed that more than 70 percent of Americans believe news organizations tend to favor one side when covering political and social issues.

This view of the media was especially high among Republicans, of which 89 percent said news organizations were partisan in their coverage of these issues. Democrats and independents, with smaller majorities, also said news organizations tend to favor one side in their coverage.

When asked about their own ability to check the facts of news stories, about three in 10 said they were very confident in their own ability to check the accuracy of a news story, while one in four express little to no confidence.

For the report, Pew researchers surveyed 6,127 adults from February 19 to March 4, and estimated a margin of error of 1.6 percentage points.

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