Pew: Americans Say Fake News Is Bigger Problem than ‘Climate Change’

From Breitbart

As a whole, Americans believe that fake news is also a bigger problem for the country than racism, illegal immigration, terrorism, and sexism.

Americans who say fake news is a “very big problem” outnumber those who say the same about “climate change,” according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center.

“Many Americans say the creation and spread of made-up news and information is causing significant harm to the nation and needs to be stopped,” the survey revealed, with a full fifty percent of the population describing it as a very big problem as opposed to 46 percent who say the same of climate change.

U.S. adults believe that the majority of the content of made-up news and information falls into two major categories: politics/elections (73 percent) and entertainment/celebrities (61 percent), Pew revealed.

A bulk of Americans sense an ideological motivation behind the creation of fake news, with 86 percent of the population saying that “the desire to push an agenda or viewpoint” is a key reason why news is manipulated.

As with many issues, when it comes to fake news there are sharp divisions along partisan lines, Pew found. “In general, Republicans, the highly politically aware and older Americans express higher levels of concern about the impact of made-up news than their counterparts,” the report stated.

In fact, among Republicans and those who lean Republican, 62 percent believe that fake news is a “very big problem” as opposed to just 40 percent of Democrats or those who lean Democrat who say this.

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83 thoughts on “Pew: Americans Say Fake News Is Bigger Problem than ‘Climate Change’

        • ‘Lemmings going over a cliff” was ITSELF fake news. Faked for a documentary. There is apparently little evidence that Lemmings ever did such things in nature, or at least not more then any other animals.

          • Reminds me of the cartoon in a (very) old issue of “Punch,” the British humor magazine: a line of people in Dutch garb are jumping off a cliff into the sea one by one. The caption is:
            “Flemings.”

        • Is it not 97% of Walruses that go over cliffs, either because they are tired of bumping into this pesky sea ice, or out of profound concern for the future of the planet. See the Proceedings of the International Association of Walrus Environmentalists for further details.

    • I’ll try: 97% of Climate Scientists agree, AGW will make fake news more severe and more extreme.

    • It depends on how you define “fake news”. An example joke illustrating a Soviet approach: Jimmy Carter agreed to compete with Leonid Brezhnev at a 100 m run, and won. The next day the official Soviet daily Pravda reports: In yesterday’s race Comrade Secretary General Brezhnev gained a honorable second place, while the American President ended up next-to-last.

      Isn’t it just the truth? It is how you sell it.

  1. Isn’t the fake science driving climate alarmism the same as fake news? Both apply fabricated stories to reinforce a political narrative that can’t stand on its own merits.

    • To be more precise you have it right calling it Fake Science which is its own category. It is similar to fake news and sometimes it is both when it applies to misleading science news. Some of it truly is FAKE science especially the way Michael Mann presented it with his hockey stick science. He and a few others like some of the IPCC pronouncements of impending doom, (remember the Himalayan glaciers all melting) have actually had the opposite affect on public acceptance of climate change and we should be thankful for these clowns of science because they do incredible destruction to the CAGW meme long term. Time is the great leveller of scientific truth and understanding, and these people who have peddled in scientific malfeasance will be held accountable in the history books. Unfortunately it has cost an awful lot of money so far and will probably cost trillions more before it is apparent that the sensitivity of CO2 is not only minimal but probably highly beneficial to life for the long term future of the good Earth.

      • Some years ago, there was an attempt to normalize Fake Science, even here at WUWT by a few, under the name Post Normal Science….which was science tied to a political agenda. The argument was that the urgency of applying what the Post Normals call the Precautionary Principle required action before all the real science could be done, because doing nothing would lead catastrophe….AOC’s argument in a nutshell….the argument that CAGW is so imminent and sufficiently plausible that the Chicken Little panic is actually the rational course. Not quite “The Sky is Falling!!”, but worse, “The Sky may be falling….so everybody panic!!” Sad. Yet the Progressive Left of the whole world is still trying to push this irrational Rationalism on the rest of us.

    • H.L. Mencken

      “No one in this world, so far as I know — and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me — has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.”

      “The mistake that is made always runs the other way. Because the plain people are able to speak and understand, and even, in many cases, to read and write, it is assumed that they have ideas in their heads, and an appetite for more. This assumption is a folly.”

      Mencken may not be correct but he was an astute observer.

      • Mencken was a pompous jackass who who had a psychological need to insult ordinary people as a way of convincing himself that he was one of the elites, all evidence to the contrary. Watch Blazing Saddles and keep an eye out for a character named Howard Johnson who sits in a bar and quotes Neitszche a lot, thinking it makes him sophisticated. That’s Mencken to a “T.”

  2. I’m pretty sure I’ve read that Americans, in general, are less inclined to believe “climate change” is an existential threat — or even much of a concern — than Europeans are.

    If true, do you suppose this is because Europeans are more used to blindly accepting the dictates of their governments in matters of national importance?

    It would be totally ironic if the lefties said it was because the US educational system is so bad they can’t understand the science, because hey — the lefties have been running the US educational system for the past four decades, so they’d only have themselves to blame.

    • There has always been a rebellious streak in Americans. I think that is why public schools work so hard to beat that out of people. It works for the most part – but I think deep down every American is willing to say “fuck you – I won’t do what you tell me”.

      So when people detect a group playing authoritarian games – it riles the ire of these people. There must be a reason why authoritarianism is needed to enforce the claim. Where is the proof? Especially in a thing as variable as the weather – in a system that is older than human history.

      These polls ALWAYS underpredict the heterodox opinion. I would not be surprised if the number of people that have grown skeptical about AGW is above 60%. And there is no real support for any of the Green New Deal garbage. When put to a vote in the house NO ONE voted for it.

    • America basically rebelled against the concept of divine right of kings. How many European countries still have kings?

    • America still retains a healthy population of conservative individualist. Rest assured, the leftosphere in the States is just as freaked out about global warming as the Europeans. The only difference is those conservatives …. Europe has very few, if any true conservatives. What Europe calls conservatives we call Old School Democrats. What Europe calls liberal, we call left wing wackos lacking in any sort of critical thinking skills.

      Just sayin

    • That’s an interesting question. Big government breeds public dependence and saps independent thinking. Big government sucks up all the moral oxygen (and the money) in society and chokes out institutions like civic and social clubs, private schools, charities that help the less well off, and even churches (Europe is currently less religious than the US). Europe has many brilliant people, but big government may have made them too trusting of civic authority.

      That’s why the US needs to try to reign in government before it crushes us, too.

    • James, don’t forget immigrants to the US had a high percentage of adventurers, self-reliants, the disaffected, persecuted, seekers of a better life. They created the most powerful, prosperous, creative nation on earth.

      Most aren’t as easy to manipulate with Old World failed political flotsam as it turns out. The “New Left” Dems, however, are easily-led pretenders to phony elitist would-be masters.

    • I’m pretty sure the development of the consumer economy and its attendant advertising is the main reason for this. Americans have been B.S’d so badly for so long that they inherently refuse to believe until it’s proven. American politics is an extension. When the sellers got so over the top that people were refusing to accept what they were told was about the same time that the Nazis in Germany figured out that the big lie and pervasive lies could have the desired effect even when people were tuned out.
      Advertising and political lies now works that way. Like a steady drip of water. The schools have the advantage of fresh and innocent minds. We need to reform education from K to Uni to chase the politics out of it.

  3. Well, almost any ACTUAL problem is a greater issue than CAGW.

    And in point of fact, most of these fabricated issues ARE a product of fake news.

  4. Maybe. But if you ask them to define what they mean by “fake news” I bet it will sound an awful lot like “anything I don’t agree with”.

    You could find nearly 100% of the people in favor of a “fair tax system”, right up until you make them define “fair”.

    • For sure.

      The results you get from a poll depend on how you ask the questions.

      There is an ongoing Gallup poll:

      What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today? link

      Note that it’s an open ended question. People can say anything they want. The trick is to fit their replies into some kind of neat categories. Fake news or anything that looks like fake news doesn’t seem to be a problem. The reason the Pew poll makes it look like a problem is that they prompted people in such a way as to produce that result.

  5. Part of the problem in polling is definitions of fake news. Post Normal ‘progressives’ seem to believe that means justify the “correct” ends, so outcomes are more important than truth. A Big Lie to turn people toward the ‘right’ reaction or action is not fake news. Similarly if it feels right in supporting your world view, it is not fake news. Republicans seem to be more insistent that the news be true.

    A better way to analyze the results is to believe that most of the news is fake, 38% of Repubs and 60% of Dems approve of fake news.

  6. Although it seems right, I still have trouble believing this poll, with an eye to past polling accuracy.

  7. Seems there is a ‘climate change’ taking place, with respect to coordinated main stream propaganda vs factual and complete news reporting. Unsettling to the ‘fake news’ purveyors, no doubt!

  8. One thing going on is the decline of the legacy media. Once upon a time, like 1990 or so, the legacy media could act as gatekeepers on news, and their version of reality went mostly unchallenged. Now, with the rise of the net, they no longer have a ogliopoly on news.
    So, the manifest biases of some formerly respected media outlets is fairly easy to find currently, even though some people can remain willfully ignorant.

    • and now people are finding info on the net? we have fkbk and the rest censoring and removing anything they choose to say “offends” or isnt the mainstream accepted view..
      from burning/banning books- to refusing to allow a page of pixels to be viewed- its the same thing.

  9. Agreeing that there is a problem is the first step to solving it. The real issue will be getting people to agree on what IS fake news. Here we probably have a 50:50 divide. Like climate porn. Half the people know it is fake, but half of them believe it implicitly and run political campaigns based on it.
    But at least I am heartened that most people recognize that there is Fake News and we need to do something about it, but something that does not inhibit our right to free speech either. This is the really tough issue to address

    • My concern about any attempt to regulate fake news is exactly your point – who decides what is fake? The British Government recently talked about setting up an agency to identify and eliminate fake news – a chilling prospect as it is effectively censorship.

      Marketers have been using fake news since time began, with no widespread ill effects. If lying or deceiving, they are caught out sooner or later.

      Then there is ‘spin’ – the selection of facts to include in a piece, and the emotional context created by the use of certain adverbs, adjectives and imagery.

      This is self-regulating in an open, free society, as such statements – again eventually – can be brought down by being challenged. So in my view we need to concentrate on freedom of expression and promote the value of reasoned argument, rather than creating ‘safe spaces’ and banning those who may offend or disagree withn us.

    • Don’t forget that your impression of what is Fake News is not my impression of Fake News.
      In other words, it works both ways.
      That is probably on purpose and if so is truly frightening as it verges on the definition of reality.

    • The best thing to do is let everyone publish whatever they want, fake or real. If there is a community awareness of 50% already who know what is published is fake, then the problem is already solved. People know it is fake, they do their own research to identify it. Done and done.

      The real problem is the 50% who believe it. That’s what needs to be addressed.

  10. Most of what is reported as news is not news, but opinion and editorial. Any article that is labeled as “news analysis” is OP-ED propaganda. It is not fake, but a propagandized analysis of what the author would like you to “know” about the subject whether it is true or not.
    The only thing ‘fake’ about it is that it is being passed off as news and not identified as OP-ED.

  11. “If true, do you suppose this is because Europeans are more used to blindly accepting the dictates of their governments in matters of national importance?”

    That doesn’t appear to be the case in France recently.

  12. It seems that Europe gets itself in to trouble often (WW1, WW2, EU, climate scare, etc.) and then we Americans have to go over there and die to get Europe back on the right track, then it goes wrong again. Or maybe I am just being cynical?

    • I believe the USA entered the 2nd world war after the attack by the Japanese attack Pearl harbor.Until then the USA was neutral .Adolf Hitler declared war in the USA a few days later & the USA declared war on Germany later that day .

  13. If someone challenges your right to be heard on a topic, rest assured they are the purveyor of Fake News.

  14. I don’t think there is rampant fake news, but I do believe there is rampant biased news. It is true that President Trump dumped the remainder of the fish food in the Koi pond. That isn’t fake, it really happened. The insinuation was that he is impatient, rude and undiplomatic. They didn’t show that Abe had already dumped his bowl of fish food. I don’t like how they always spin a side and then tell us they are objective. So yes, CNN does suck.

      • Right. A more accurate headline would have been,
        “President Trump follows lead of Japanese Prime Minister traditionally feeding Koi”
        While the first Google result is
        “Trump feeds koi, then winds up pouring entire box into koi pond”
        This is technically true (the very best kind of true) but does not convey the truth in English, because all of the implications are wrong.

  15. Canada’s largest newspaper, the Toronto Star, published a story about physical dangers of climate change that was factually incorrect by 700% to 4500%. They refused to publish a correction and lied on paper about having corroborating evidence which they ultimately were unable to produce – because it simply does not exist.

    Rather than being “nearly five times greater than in the 1970’s the deaths from extreme climate events have decreased substantially even though population has doubled.

    The considered judgment of The National NewsMedia Council, Canada’s self-proclaimed guardians of journalistic integrity, “no breach of journalism standards!”

    The press deserves its low credibility ratings.

    The Star routinely brags about its high ethical standards and participates in the widely subscribed to media “Trust Project.”

  16. Propaganda at the ministry of truth needs a tune up.

    I don’t watch the news at all. I watch Jimmy Dore, Lee Camp & Johnathan Pie!!!! Yes the comedians cover the real news. I don’t agree with everything they say but they make me laugh and they make me think. I like that.

  17. The poll respondents were supplied with a short list of 11 issues to respond to in this poll. The % responding that each item “WAS A VERY BIG PROBLEM” was then tallied.

    That’s not a worthless endeavor. But is easy to make misleading conclusions from these types of questionnaires.

    When poll respondents are asked to SUPPLY a “list of the most serious concerns” in a poll, respondents rarely include Climate Change. Or, if the list is at least 12 items long (and respondents are asked to rank the items according to severity) it always falls near the bottom of the list.

    You will only get a 40+% response to a belief in a Climate Crisis when respondents are asked, “Yes or no, do you feel that Climate Change is a problem?”

    According to the Alarmunists, the coming Climate Crisis is as ominous as a world wide extinction threatening plague. I don’t see the general population behaving like there is any threat at all…let alone something along the lines of a “Climate Extinction” event.

  18. The news media have become nothing but a propaganda machine for the idiotic schemes of the Democratic Party. There is no objective reporting whatsoever and virtually every item labeled as “news” is twisted around the political shenanigans promoting Democratic Party bias.

  19. The level of honesty is clearly lacking on organizational bias and the reward systems for them respectively. Take for example sell-side stock analysts being presented as unbiased to casual readers that don’t know that bias. The same goes for media outlets with a liberal editorial bias writing headlines and writing editorials and deciding the slants in the body of the news. The sell-side analyst is rewarded for picking downturns in stocks while also influencing the timing and degree of actual decline as best they can influence it. The biased news outlet is selling agenda space without telling the casual readers and they might be forced to sell more of that agenda attention if regular ad revenue declines along with subscribers.

  20. The fakest Fake News is climate alarm, which will only become an actual concern when the planet starts cooling, but still not for the reason the alarmists will be saying. They will just switch back to saying that it is people who are causing the cooling and we need to stop burning fossil fuels immediately, the same as they said in the 1970s.

    The late self-admitted faker-in-chief Stephen Schneider led both the “oil burning is freezing the planet” movement, and immediately after that the “oil burning is burning up the planet” movement. His perfidy still lives on in the funding structure he helped Al Gore put in place where no money goes to anyone who fails to support the radical left’s anti-fossil-fuels agenda.

    The three Stanford Malthusians–Schneider, Holdren and Ehrlich–may be the three most damaging intellectual frauds in human history. Malthus was an ECONOMIST whose theory that population growth must create poverty has been contradicted by every era of human existence and was understood by Malthus himself to be a failed theory, though he didn’t know why. He failed to understand that human ingenuity is itself a resource, so that population growth in-effect creates more resources than it consumes (a phenomenon that was not fully understood until Julian Simon sussed out the actual numbers in his great book The Ultimate Resource).

    The three Stanford Stooges were not doing physical science at all. They were doing economics, fabulously wrong and completely failed economics. Their supposed “science” was all fabricated to tell a tale that supported their economic errors, as Schneider admitted: “Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

    He advocated for making whatever scientific claims would garner public support for what he saw as necessary policy actions, but his convictions about policy were not based on science at all. They were based on his completely incompetent economic views, thinking that human population and economic growth were gobbling up the planet, making it necessary to unplug the economy by unplugging fossil energy supplies, oh and by the way being anti-nuclear too.

    None of these three morons was EVER doing science. Total fake science news, and Schneider institutionalized it by creating the climate funding system that is still in place today (administered in Obama’s second term by Holdren). At least $125b now and not a penny ever goes to anyone who fails to support the Malthusian agenda: anti-CO2, anti-energy, anti-economic growth, anti-population. 100% political funding of 100% fake news.

    The thousands of scientists who go along also accept the Malthusian doctrine. “If we are wrong about CO2 it’s okay because the policies we advocate, reigning in economic growth, will save the planet from being gobbled up by humanity.” So they happily take the money and think of themselves as do-gooders, without concern about whether their scientific claims are valid or not.

    It is wrong to call these people “neo-Malthusians,” as is commonly heard. They are actually paleo-Malthusian. Compared to them Malthus was a neo-Malthusian. He came to understand that he had been very wrong, but today’s Malthusians are completely unreflective. They don’t even admit that their man-vs-nature eco-religious beliefs are actually simple old-timey Malthusian economic ideas and they have no awareness of how completely backwards those ideas are now understood to be by people who actually do economics.

    The whole “climate science” field is actually doing economics, not science. Just really really bad economics, dressed up with fake science rationales on the excuse that the resulting anti-human policy prescriptions are just what the world needs anyway, so don’t fret whether the science is valid or not.

  21. You can’t fool all of the people all of the time but with the right giveaway programs you can fool enough Dems to get the job done. Of course eliminating the Electoral College and allowing all felons to vote would help make it happen much more often.

  22. I doubt we will see a poll from PEW asking about agenda science, agenda news, or agenda court rulings.

  23. With NPR demanding an apology from the American People to Al Gore for the flooding that he predicted, what are we to think?

  24. Years ago papers like the New York Times disgracefully perverted the truth by either distortions or simply ignoring what should have been front page news – not hearsay or opinion but brutal acts by those they were siding with politically. I remember two horrific incidents that happened in 1977 and 1978. They involved family and friends of someone I knew and respected. The NYT ignored the first and distorted the second to fit their narrative. Now what the NYT was doing has become pervasive in the mainstream media.

    Actually the term “fake news” is misleading. It is often a blend of truths, half-truths and lies. It includes far more than just fake or made up stories. It easily misleads naive and uninformed people. There are a few important warning lights:
    if a report speaks of “unnamed sources,” do not believe it;
    if it does not refer the reader to a source for the complete text or address where you can check the actual words and their context, do not believe it;
    if the article is filled with sensational language and emotive words, do not believe it.
    if there are serious flaws in the reasoning (logic), do not believe it.

  25. Not much fake news. The problem is they spike most of the important stories.
    Windows 10 “news” is true entertainment about the British Royal Family, dogs, Congress, Trump, the weather.

    Things that matter are not covered as much.

    Politics is slanted. They call you for those polls. They do want to know what you think and what you care about, not because they think you have any wisdom, but so they can craft those idiotic election messages with check marks for what their candidate stands for. They elect who they want.

  26. I got to thinking about Brexit (I’m from the UK originally) and it occurred to me that “brexit chaos” is the same as the “climate crisis”. It doesn’t actually exist either in the real world.

    Sure, there are some electrons doing spasmodic circles in the brains of elitists twits and their toadie media elitist twits, with cash going in their direction but, other than that, Brexit doesn’t actually exist either when it comes to normal, non-parasitic people.

    Is there a living descendant of Guy Fawkes that could finish the job this time?

  27. Conditions must be pretty rough,when 30% of Liberals acknowledge the media lies.
    For even our progressive comrades to notice means the lying is blatant and obvious.
    Fake news is spin,so many spinners so few facts.
    What ever happened to Who,When,Where,what,why?
    The reporting has gotten so bad that we are left with the conclusion;
    “Somebody did something somewhere”.
    Liars never prosper,but they can gain some short term advantage from misleading you.
    Media has been lying,mostly by omission, for year.
    This is why they are trending to ward bankruptcy,the public stopped buying years ago.
    Now the advertisers are following the public.

  28. This isn’t news. For years polls have shown that concern about climate change is pretty low for most Americans. Of course for high-strung Americans it’s at the very top, right next to a bunch of other imaginary problems like “social justice”, “income inequality”, a “woman’s right to choose”, and “right-wing extremists”. For them everything is a crisis of roughly equal proportion. For laid-back Americans, things like low unemployment, a strong economy, inexpensive energy, law and order, family values and backyard barbeques are high priority.

  29. The new “Woke” generation has “woken up” to the understanding that they are being fed an unrelenting stream of marketing – politica,l commercial and ideological, by every mass media outlet that is essentially for hire.

    Those, however, that call themselves ‘woke’ are in fact mesmerised by the media that tell them:”You are not asleep. You are not dreaming. This is real, wake up and take another dose of progressive propaganda You are not asleep. This is real. Because we all say so, so it must be true.. You are not dreaming…”

  30. ” … “Many Americans say the creation and spread of made-up news and information is causing significant harm to the nation and needs to be stopped,” the survey revealed, with a full fifty percent of the population describing it as a very big problem as opposed to 46 percent who say the same of climate change. … ”
    >>

    Solve the former and you’ve implicitly solved the latter.

  31. We have a problem when newspaper editors and politicians start deciding what is fake news.

  32. What Maltha said at that moment in time was correct, and basically it is
    still true. Obviously if a people cannot feed themselves, and are unable
    to produce sufficient goods to enable them to then buy food, quite
    obviously they and the World does have a problem.

    Solution, well there are many, cheap energy would go a long way to help
    with solving the problem, as if their standard of living rose to match the
    Western countries with a provision for pensions for the aged , this would
    help remove the need to have lots of children in the hope that enough
    survive to look after Mum and Dad.

    But in the short term then Condoms are needed, although Cultural problems
    will then occur, remember the Catholics in Northern Ireland who could
    not seem to understand why the Protestants were better off, because they
    had far less children.

    Today of course we have the potentially far greater problem with the people
    of the Islamic faith. In say 20 years time the Politics of Europe will look
    very different from today, unless of course like the Jews, Pogroms occur.
    Sad but I am afraid true.

    MJE VK5ELL

  33. But what about fake news about fake climate science about fake warming by fake fakers faking fakery?

  34. The NYT , Guardian , LA Times , BBC , CBC , ABC will print or report any scary climate story they can get .
    The way to finish off the scary global warming scam is to flood these “news ” outlets with over the top scary climate fiction and the public will get even more sick of being subjected to the bias .
    The NYT will be under water in 3 years etc etc .

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