Amidst the cries of "fake news" leveled at major media outlets by the President, a new Pew Research Center survey finds a deep partisan divide over the role of the news media in holding the country's leaders to account, while trust in local news trumps national by a small margin and social media lags far behind.
Overwhelmingly (89%), Democrats say news media criticism keeps political leaders from doing things they shouldn't, while only 42% of Republicans say that is the case. That 47-percentage point gap is the largest in three decades of polling on that question. That compares to only a 3-point gap in 2016, when 77% of Republicans said the press was keeping leaders from doing things they shouldn't, and 74% of Democrats said the same.
When it comes to perceived bias, 87% of Republicans say news organizations "tend to favor one side," with 53% of Democrats saying that is the case.
The news media doesn't get much love from either side when it comes to whether their information is "very trustworthy." Only 11% of Republicans say it is, down from 15% in 2016. Only a third of Democrats (34%) say it is, up slightly from 27% in 2016.
They also do not get very high marks for doing "very well" at keeping people informed. Only 18% of Republicans say that is the case for national media, and 22% say that is the case for local media. For Democrats, 33% say that is the case for national media, but only 29% say that's the case for local media.
And as the FCC collects data on the competitiveness of mobile for broadband use, the study found that nearly half (45%) often get news on a mobile device, up from 36% in 2016. The numbers were up for all political persuasions polled, with 52% of Democrats saying they often get news from a mobile device, up from 37% in 2016; 40% of Republicans saying they often get news from a mobile device, up from 36% in 2016; and 41% of independents saying they do so, up from 36% in 2016.
Local news gets slightly higher trust scores than national—85% say they trust local news a lot (25%) or at least some (60%).
But social media continues to be taken with more than a few grains of salt. Only 5% trust it a lot, and 33% trust it some.
The study was conducted March 13-17 among 4,151 adults. The full sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.