Media Credibility Lowest in At least Two Decades

For more than two decades, Pew Research surveys have monitored the credibility Americans accord to the news media, their assessment of media accuracy and reliability and the degree of bias in media reporting. In their most recent survey, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press characterizes the results in Press Accuracy Rating Hits Two Decade Low, a 7-page summary of their findings, which are reported in greater detail in the full 26-page report:

“Just 29% of Americans say that news organizations generally get the facts straight, while 63% say that news stories are often inaccurate. In the initial survey in this series about the news media’s performance in 1985, 55% said news stories were accurate while 34% said they were inaccurate. That percentage had fallen sharply by the late 1990s and has remained low over the last decade.

“Similarly, only about a quarter (26%) now say that news organizations are careful that their reporting is not politically biased, compared with 60% who say news organizations are politically biased. And the percentages saying that news organizations are independent of powerful people and organizations (20%) or are willing to admit their mistakes (21%) now also match all-time lows.

“Republicans continue to be highly critical of the news media in nearly all respects. However, much of the growth in negative attitudes toward the news media over the last two years is driven by increasingly unfavorable evaluations by Democrats. On several measures, Democratic criticism of the news media has grown by double-digits since 2007. Today, most Democrats (59%) say that the reports of news organizations are often inaccurate; just 43% said this two years ago. Democrats are also now more likely than they were in 2007 to identify favoritism in the media: Two-thirds (67%) say the press tends to favor one side rather than to treat all sides fairly, up from 54%. And while just a third of Democrats (33%) say news organizations are “too critical of America,” that reflects a 10-point increase since 2007.

“The partisan gaps in several of these opinions, which had widened considerably over the past decade, have narrowed.”

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Published in: on September 16, 2009 at 2:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

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