Think Trump’s railing against the media hasn’t had an effect on his followers? Think again. A new poll reveals that Trump voters trust Alex Jones’ inane conspiracy site Infowars at almost exactly the same rate as they trust the Washington Post and the New York Times.
The survey asked respondents, “How trustworthy do you rate the following news organizations?” before listing off a number of outlets. Fifteen percent of Trump voters found Infowars trustworthy to some degree—4 percent “very trustworthy” and 11 percent “trustworthy.” Fifteen percent of Trump voters deemed The New York Times trustworthy to some degree—5 percent “very trustworthy” and 10 percent “trustworthy”—while 15 percent viewed The Washington Post trustworthy to some degree (5 percent “very trustworthy” and 10 percent “trustworthy”).
Further, Trump voters were far more likely to be neutral about Infowars. Fifty-two percent of Trump voters deemed Infowars “neither trustworthy nor untrustworthy,” while 32 percent felt it was untrustworthy to some degree, according to YouGov/The Economist. Just 16 percent of Trump voters felt the Times was “neither trustworthy nor untrustworthy,” while 69 percent viewed it as untrustworthy to some degree. It was more of the same for the Post. Twenty-one percent of Trump voters felt the paper was “neither trustworthy nor untrustworthy,” while 64 percent viewed it as untrustworthy to some degree.
Many other outlets received similar results from folks who voted for Trump—just 11 percent viewed CNN as trustworthy to some degree, 16 percent for NBC, 18 percent for CBS. Americans overall, however, largely trusted major outlets over Infowars. Forty-one percent of Americans viewed the Times as trustworthy—41 percent for the Post. Just 12 percent of Americans overall viewed Infowars as trustworthy.
Just more evidence that Trump, and the right in general, has very successfully created an alternate factual reality for their followers to live in. And live in it, they do. It is, of course, one of the first thing cult leaders do is tell their followers that they can’t trust anyone else but them. Everyone else is a liar, all evidence that conflicts with their beliefs is fake and should be dismissed out of hand without bothering to examine it or analyze it rationally.
This was also a prominent feature of Orwell’s 1984 — you believed what the party told you, period. Any questioning was clearly subversive and suspect. Everyone who isn’t a true believer is part of a conspiracy.