Here’s a Handy Guide for Republicans to Tell Whether a Story is Really ‘Fake News’

This week, a startling new poll was released in which 92% of Republicans said that they agree that the news media sometimes knowingly reports false or misleading—otherwise known as “fake”–news. Since, in the modern era, it is nearly impossible to get 92% of Republicans, or any large group really, to agree on anything remotely controversial, this statistic understandably created quite a stir.

As an anti-news media conservative who has spent most of their career trying to educate people about how biased and flawed much of the mainstream news media coverage has become, I felt a strange sense of culpability for having played a tiny role in these disturbing results. This is not because 92% of Republicans (as well as 72% of Independents and 53% of Democrats) are incorrect about the news media occasionally reporting things which could be described as “fake news,” for, sadly, this does indeed happen all too often.

The real problem here (other than, of course, the fact that the news media now has dangerously little credibility remaining with most of the public) is that most people, especially Trump-supporting Republicans are really awful at determining when the news media may be reporting things that are not true. Consequently, the term ‘fake news” has become little more than a weapon for President Trump to fool his “Cult 45” following into thinking that negative stories about him can’t be trusted, and the legitimate cause of media accountability has now been hopelessly bastardized for the sole benefit of a man who deserves such a benefit less than anyone.

With that in mind, as both a service to these Republicans to whom I am referring, as well as an effort to work off some personal guilt for having possibly contributed to this crisis in media confidence, here is a handy guide that can be used to determine when a news story might be “fake,” and when it probably is not.

Hopefully this guide is helpful, especially to Trump fans. The news media largely deserves the shocking lack of trust in which almost all Republicans have for what they report, but that shouldn’t get Trump supporters totally off the hook for not being able to tell the difference between and real and fake news.

At least now they have one less excuse.

John Ziegler hosts a weekly podcast focusing on news media issues and is documentary filmmaker. You can follow him on Twitter at @ZigManFreud  or email him at

Tags: Donald Trump, fake news

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