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Nearly 40 percent of all news is fake — or so Americans believe, according to a poll commissioned by THR. The 1,000 respondents (all frequent news consumers, split between Trump/Clinton supporters) said that only 62 percent of the news is “real,” with Clinton voters finding it a lot more real than Trump’s. This mistrust was among the biggest revelations of the National Research Group survey, conducted April 1-2, just after The New York Times reported that $13 million had been paid out to settle claims of sexual harassment against Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. He proved the most polarizing news figure, with the highest positives from his core audience (75 percent) but also the highest negatives from everyone else.
“In a different time, O’Reilly’s situation should have destroyed his career,” says NRG CEO Jon Penn. “But in today’s polarized climate, it amplifies his appeal among Trump voters. To his supporters, the O’Reilly brand personifies aggression, controversy, independence and fearlessness, [and] his talking points are ‘real’ — it’s the rest of the media that is ‘fake.’ “
This story first appeared in the April 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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