Nearly Half of Trump Voters Ready to Support His Attack on Free Press
Trump voters still following president-elect's lead despite trail of broken campaign promises
Almost half of the people who voted for President-elect Donald Trump say they support taking legal steps to make it easier to sue the media, according to a new poll.
The survey, conducted by Morning Consult for the Washington, D.C.-based public relations firm Glover Park, found that 49 percent of self-identified Trump supporters say the courts should change libel laws in a way that would allow public figures to sue news outlets for unfavorable or allegedly false coverage.
Only 29 percent said they were against such a move, while 22 percent said they weren't sure.
It's a sign that Trump's supporters are continuing to follow his lead, despite evidence of him breaking many of his populist campaign promises. Throughout the election, and even after his win, Trump repeatedly referred to the press as "dishonest," "corrupt," and "unfair."
"One of the things I'm going to do if I win, and I hope we do and we're certainly leading. I'm going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money," Trump said in February during a rally.
"So when the New York Times writes a hit piece—which is a total disgrace—or when the Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they're totally protected," he said.
Trump also criticized the media for "inciting" anger against his win after protests erupted across the U.S. to express outrage at his election. Many fear that his rise to power threatens freedom of the press and expression worldwide.
Despite his antagonistic relationship with the press, on Sunday, Trump hosted journalists for drinks and off-the-record comments at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
Critics warned last month that the media must not normalize or roll over for Trump, but instead respond with "some dignity and return aggression," as Intercept journalist Glenn Greenwald put it. However, it seems some outlets have already started to submit.
For Trump and many of his supporters, even that may not be enough.