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Nearly half of voters believe reporters ‘make up’ anonymous sources

White House press secretary Sean Spicer takes questions during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C. A new Morning Consult/Politico poll shows almost half of voters believe it's "likely" that reporters "make up" their anonymous sources. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Almost half of the American electorate believes journalists falsify their anonymous sources, according to a new poll.

A new Morning Consult/Politico survey, which was conducted March 2-6 and published Wednesday, found that 44 percent of respondents believed it is "likely" reporters "make up" anonymous sources.

By contrast, only 36 percent said it is "not likely" journalists fabricate their unnamed sources, and 20 percent said they didn't know or had no opinion.

President Donald Trump, for his part, has said he is no fan of anonymous sources in reporting and claims that they're made up. During his address at the Conservative Political Action Conference last month, he said, "They have no sources; they just make 'em up when there are none."

"I'm against the people that make up stories and make up sources," he continued. "They shouldn't be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody's name. Let their name be put out there. Let their name be put out."

The president also said that many in the mainstream media "have their own agenda" and do "not represent the people." Trump vowed during his CPAC address to "do something about" the media.

And according to the survey, Trump's rhetoric plays very well among his base. The poll found that, while a quarter of Democrats (24 percent) said it is likely reporters make up their sources, 64 percent of Republicans felt the same.

Only a third of Americans overall believe it is appropriate for journalists to cite anonymous sources when reporting on government business, while 50 percent said it is not.

A majority of voters (56 percent) said it is inappropriate for government officials to decline to speak with a news outlet just because they disagree with their coverage, including 35 percent of Trump supporters. And 52 percent of Americans said it is inappropriate for an outlet to be blocked from press briefings.

In late February, the White House barred CNN, the New York Times, Politico and the Los Angeles Times from participating in an off-camera press gaggle. Sarah Sanders, a spokeswoman for the Trump administration, told reporters at the time that certain outlets were blocked because there was "limited room" in White House press secretary Sean Spicer's office.

In a statement, CNN described the incident as "unacceptable," adding, "Apparently, this is how they retaliate when you report facts they don’t like. We’ll keep reporting regardless."

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