New: My research w/@andyguess/@JasonReifler providing 1st behavioral estimates of fake news exposure in 2016 https://t.co/dRI5P6NN04— Brendan Nyhan (@BrendanNyhan) January 2, 2018
-heavily concentrated among w/most conservative info diets
-Facebook key vector of exposure
-fact-checks did not reach those exposed pic.twitter.com/5BtSYSFIa9
Ever since Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign in 2015, one of his biggest adversaries, according to him, has been the press.
He has repeatedly labeled news media as the “enemy,” “failing” and “fake news.” However, a new study showed Trump supporters consume actual fake news at far higher rate than other demographics in the United States.
The content on those news websites is heavily in favor of Trump.
The survey combined responses and browsing histories of 2,525 Americans. It revealed one in four politically conservative Americans visited fake news websites.
The research, which was done between Oct. 7 and Nov. 14, 2017, also showed these people consumed around one fake news story per day during the time survey was carried out.
The websites identified in the survey included, BipartisanReport.com, IJR.com, and DailyWire.com, among many others. It was also revealed that the content on these sites was “heavily skewed towards toward Trump.”
“These results contribute to the ongoing debate about the problem of 'filter bubbles' by showing that the 'echo chamber' is deep (33.16 articles from fake news websites on average) but narrow (the group consuming so much fake news represents only 10 percent of the public),” wrote the study's authors.
They also added, “In general, fake news consumption seems to be a complement to, rather than a substitute for, hard news. Visits to fake news websites are highest among people who consume the most hard news and do not measurably decrease among the most politically knowledgeable individuals."
What is more alarming is that counter efforts are not working because news websites like PolitiFact and Snopes are unable to gather fake news readers and the readers don’t read stories that debunk articles published by the fake news outlets.
Researchers also define “fake news” as “factually dubious” but Trump uses the term to wrongfully refer to news that is against him and his administration.
Spotlight/Banner: Reuters, Jonathan Ernst