You can tell that this is real news, not fake news, because the numbers are positive for Trump. In fact, the big guy’s pretty excited about it:
'Trump administration seen as more truthful than news media'https://t.co/6LmsR5JOSW
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2017
Bear in mind, the numbers here have him at just 49/48 when people are asked if they consider his administration truthful, but yes, it’s true that he did score a bit better than our hated media. I said a few days ago that America is caught between two unreliable narrators, but if Emerson’s data is accurate, the narrator in the White House is considered more reliable than the one on your TV.
A key finding of the poll shows that voters find the Trump administration to be more truthful than the news media. The Trump administration is considered truthful by 49% of voters, to 48% of voters who consider it untruthful. Meanwhile, the news media is considered untruthful by a 53%-majority of registered voters, to only 39% who find them truthful (a 14-point gap). Numerous members of the Trump administration – including Trump himself – have been criticized frequently for making false statements. The partisan split on this topic is clear – 89% of Republicans find the Trump administration truthful, versus 77% of Democrats who find the administration untruthful. Conversely, 69% of Democrats find the news media truthful, while a whopping 91% of Republicans consider them untruthful. Independents consider both untruthful – the Trump administration by a margin of 42%/52% and the news media by a margin of 45%/47%.
Pretty straightforward. While Democrats break heavily against Trump and solidly in favor of the media on truthfulness, Republicans are all but unanimous in the opposite directions, more than compensating for the Democratic skew. That means break-even numbers overall for Trump and sagging numbers overall for the media. (Strange as it may seem to a right-winger, there are lefties who give the media thumbs down because they’re not far enough to the left, which may also be contributing to their somewhat lower ratings among Democrats.) If there’s a surprise here, it’s the fact that “only” 77 percent of Dems find the administration untruthful, a huge number but not quite as unanimous as Republican opinion is the other way. There may be a small but significant core of “Trump Democrats” out there who are giving him the benefit of the doubt right now. That’s important political capital ahead of the midterms.
Relatedly, here’s a noteworthy bit from yesterday’s Tapper/Conway melee that was missed by most (me included) but was flagged by John Ziegler at Mediaite. At one point Tapper accuses Trump of repeatedly saying things “that are not true, demonstrably not true.” That’s a serious charge to throw at a president, and one which you would expect Conway to counterpunch hard against. She could have said that Trump’s “lies” are actually just factual mistakes he makes sometimes, the same as any human being does. (See, for instance, Conway herself on the “Bowling Green massacre.”) But she didn’t say that. She … basically conceded Tapper’s point instead, simply noting in response that Trump says plenty of stuff that’s true too. Are a certain number of lies permissible so long as there’s enough truth to “balance them out” or whatever? Maybe Tapper will ask her the next time she’s on.