It should be no surprise that Clinton and Trump voters in 2016 had little overlap in terms of what outlets they relied on for news about the election. How can a splintered public address key issues -- or a nation govern -- if it can't agree on what constitutes truth?
In yet another illustration of the widening ideological chasm in our national politics, Pew Research found that 40% of Trump voters identified Fox News as their main source of election news. In contrast, only 3% of Clinton voters designated Fox News.
Clinton voters were much more varied in their news choices than Trump voters.
CNN came up on top among those voters, but was chosen by only 18%. MSNBC was second with 9%. NPR, ABC, The New York Times and CBS were all named by between 5% and 9% of her voters. CNN was named by only 8% of Trump voters.
Trump voters had eight different news outlets that more than 3% of respondents said was their main source of election news, including Breitbart and The Drudge Report. Clinton voters, proving a bit more intellectually curious about different viewpoints, had 11 outlets on the list released by Pew, including The Huffington Post.
Within the Democratic party, variations between Clinton primary voters and non-Clinton primary voters point to an interesting dichotomy regarding election news consumption. Clinton primary voters were much more likely than those who did not vote for her to get their news on TV (56% to 37%).
In contrast, and not unexpectedly, Democrats who did not vote her in the primary relied heavily on digital outlets to educate themselves on the election, with 48% of them selecting digital outlets as their main source.
A curious but wholly expected news source that both Clinton and Trump voters relied on was Facebook. Among Clinton voters, 8% pointed to the social-media behemoth as their go-to news
source about the 2016 election, whereas it was 7% among Trump voters.
While Facebook chooses not to see itself as a news outlet, for many who use the site, it fills that exact role.
Fake news found a home on Facebook during the 2016 campaign, with weak editorial oversight (an issue the company is trying to fix) and algorithms that can promote completely false stories. That made it harder to establish credibility or truth during the election.
News consumption is changing rapidly, and the line between fact and fiction is quickly blurring. The larger implications of ongoing fake news has alarmed legislators and historians; they worry about its impact on policies designed to protect the public.