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Minnesotans disapprove of President Trump’s description of news media

September 21, 2018

The national media seems fixated on what President Donald Trump does wrong without crediting accomplishments, said Lake City resident Marlene Breuer, who approves of Trumps labeling the news media as the enemy of the people.

But Alison Greydanus, of New York Mills, is deeply troubled by it.

I think its irresponsible to even say that, Greydanus said. Both women were participants in a Star Tribune/MPR News Minnesota Poll.

The majority of Minnesotans agree with Greydanus across regions, at different income levels and age groups, and among both men and women. Just 29 percent of likely voters statewide approved of Trumps description of the news media as the enemy of the people, while 64 percent disapproved. Approval rises slightly outside the core Twin Cities, but remains below majority support in southern and northern Minnesota, and the rest of the metro suburbs.

Only Republicans and Trump voters support the description in large numbers. Sixty-eight percent of Republicans approve, while 20 percent of independent voters and just 4 percent of Democrats answered that way.

Men were more likely than women to agree, according to the poll conducted Sept. 10-12, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Voters under 34 disagree with Trump by the highest numbers 75 percent and those polled who earn more than $50,000 a year were less likely to agree with Trump than those who earn under that. Regionally, the highest rate of approval is in the metro suburbs, but even there only about one out of three are on board.

Trump has repeatedly attacked the news media on Twitter, at rallies and during interviews. Last month, a Fox News interviewer asked Trump if the press is the enemy of the people. He responded: No, not all ... Its a big chunk, OK? Somebody said, Whats the chunk? I said, 80 percent. Its a lot. Its a lot.

At a June rally in Duluth, supporters booed and chanted CNN sucks when Trump mentioned those very dishonest people back there, the fake news.

Its one thing to criticize a particular story or news outlet, said Jane Kirtley, who directs the University of Minnesotas Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law. But she said its dangerous for the president to swipe broadly at the news media, which she said is one of the most important checks on government excesses and one of the most important conduits of information for the public.

If youre going to say, No, you dont need information, or Its a subversive act to provide it to you, thats right out of the autocrats playbook, Kirtley said.

Breuer, a retiree and Trump supporter, said national media like CNN havent focused enough on the strong economy and havent given the presidents southern border wall proposal a chance.

They are so anti-Trump. They arent being honest at all, Breuer said. I mean, they can talk against him, but once in a while they should say something good about him.

Greydanus, 46, an operations manager for a trucking company, said she is concerned about Trumps leadership.

I think a lot of people are into this alternative facts,andthinsp; Greydanus said. Because something is a criticism, it isnt necessarily fake.

Grady Rostberg, who participated in the poll, said he supports Trump but disagrees with him about the news media. Rostberg, of Hutchinson, says he sees bias in TV news and it sometimes seems they get their talking points in the morning from [Senate Minority Leader Chuck] Schumer. But a free press is important, he said.

Gee whiz, the Constitution says they have a role here to play, Rostberg said. And it should be just the opposite of being the enemy of the people, it should be supporting the people and bringing out the truth.

Jessie Van Berkel 651-925-5044

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