Survey Shows Mounting Media Distrust Amongst Americans

Survey Shows Mounting Media Distrust Amongst Americans

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No surprise there: a recently conducted survey by The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reveals a growing mistrust amongst Americans when it comes to media accuracy and fairness. According to Pew research, just 29% of those surveyed believe that news organizations get their fact straight while 63% say that news stories are often inaccurate. Those numbers point to a trend first noted by Pew in 1985 when 55% felt that the information was accurate with 34% believing that the news was inaccurate.

Where the media thinks it stands with Americans is often far removed from where most people believe they stand, regardless of their political persuasion.

Where the media thinks it stands with Americans is often far removed from where most people believe they stand, regardless of their political persuasion.

Republicans are most critical of news media in most respects, but increasingly unfavorable evaluations are being offered by people who identify themselves as Democrats.

The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press’ biennial media attitudes survey, conducted July 22-26 among 1,506 adults reached on landlines and cell phones, finds that even as the party gaps in several criticisms of the press have lessened over the past few years, views of many individual media sources are deeply divided along party lines.

Positives & Negatives

According to Pew, Democrats hold considerably more positive views than Republicans of CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times and the news operations of the broadcast networks, and their views of National Public Radio are somewhat more favorable than those of Republicans. By contrast, views of Fox News — and to a lesser extent The Wall Street Journal — are more positive among Republicans than Democrats.

Media Research Center President Brent Bozell was much more harsh in his assessment of the results of the survey articulating the following:

“The media have earned every last drop of a growing majority of Americans’ disdain and distrust.  Blatantly biased, false and lazy reporting plagues network television and our nation’s left-wing newspapers. And some of these entities are adding insult to injury by demanding financial bailouts from the American taxpayer.

“If the liberal broadcast networks and newspapers refuse to acknowledge they have become a victim of their newsrooms’ own prejudices, they will continue to flounder until extinction.   Alternative media are no longer just competing; they are outshining with solid, balanced and trusted coverage.”

The New York Times

Although The New York Times mentioned some of the results of the Pew survey online on September 13, 2009, the newspaper made no mention of the portion of the survey identifying the newspaper as having a negative perception particularly with people who identified themselves as being Republican. By a 2 to 1 margin, Republicans viewed the newspaper’s news reporting negatively while Democrats view it positively, by nearly a 5 to 1 margin.

Source: The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

Photo Credit: Wahid

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