The New York Times and others are complaining that allies of President Trump are targeting hostile reporters by exposing controversial social media postings from their past. But most voters consider these reporters fair game for public criticism.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 61% of Likely U.S. Voters think reporters at major news organizations like CNN, Fox News and the New York Times are public figures who deserve the same level of scrutiny as the people they cover. Just 19% disagree, although just as many (20%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Just over half (51%) say it is appropriate for elected officials to criticize specific reporters and news organizations. Thirty-nine percent (39%), however, view such criticism as a threat to freedom of the press. This compares to 48% and 45% respectively in February 2017 after Trump began criticizing specific news organizations that were targeting him. Ten percent (10%) remain undecided.
Rasmussen Reports bases its surveys on likely voters – those who have a history of voting in recent elections – as opposed to registered voters in general, many of whom historically don’t go to the polls.
A plurality (47%) of voters continues to believe that ideologically speaking the average reporter is more liberal than they are. Just 19% think that reporter is more conservative than they are, while 22% consider them ideologically about the same. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure. This is consistent with findings in surveys for the past several years.