The results of a recent Economist/YouGov poll are disturbing but not necessarily shocking. The “fake news” drumbeat is apparently taking hold on the right as nearly half of Republicans believe media outlets who report biased or inaccurate information should be shut down. Here’s the relevant question:
88. Shutting Down Media Outlets
Generally speaking, do you favor or oppose permitting the courts to shut down news media outlets for publishing or broadcasting stories that are biased or inaccurate–or haven’t you heard enough about that yet to say?
Republicans responded like this.
Haven’t heard enough to say: 35%
The results may actually be worse than they seem because it appears that more could actually be open to the idea of censoring media outlets based on political bias or accuracy.
In 2012 thousands of people marched on Washington in the name of Constitutional Conservatism. I wonder how many of those people or the ones who sympathized with them are among those who are now want to violate the 1st Amendment or are at least open to doing so.
Only 18% of Democrats and 25% of independents favored censorship. I suspect that the low number from Democrats is an indication of their doublethink abilities. Right now the question has an implied connection to Trump’s adversarial relationship with the news media. If it were asked specifically about Fox News or if it was a question about the “fairness doctrine” I think the Democrats polled would be singing a different tune, as would the Republicans.
In a subsequent question about whether shutting down media outlets for bias or inaccuracy violated the 1st amendment, only 35% of Republicans said no.
I know, polls are polls and should always be taken with a grain of salt. They don’t exactly have a great reputation after 2016, but they’re the only real method we have for measuring public opinion. There may be a significant amount of error in the YouGov poll, but we’re talking about a portion of Republicans being ok with actively shutting down media outlets based on their politics.
Is there an acceptable percentage?