Thursday, September 24, 2009

New Media Study Reveals Public Distrust of News Outlets

As if we didn't already know about the left-leaning bent in most news organizations, a study from Sacred Heart University confirms it.

The study, titled "Trust and Satisfaction with the National News Media," reveals some facts about the trust the average American has for news outlets:

  • Those named most frequently as the television news organization most trusted for accurate reporting in 2009 included: Fox News (30.0%), CNN (19.5%), NBC News (7.5%) and ABC News (7.5%). Fox News was also the television news organization trusted least. Just over one-quarter, 26.2%, named Fox News, followed by NBC News (9.9%), MSNBC (9.4%), CNN (8.5%), CBS News (5.3%) and ABC News (3.7%).

  • The Daily Show/Colbert Report was viewed, by a six-to-one margin, as mostly or somewhat liberal over mostly or somewhat conservative. By nearly five-to-one margins, respondents see “news media journalists and broadcasters,” the New York Times and MSNBC as mostly or somewhat liberal over those that see them as mostly or somewhat conservative.

  • Fox News is viewed as mostly or somewhat conservative over mostly or somewhat liberal by a four-to-one margin. And, by approximately three-to-one margins, CNN and USA Today are viewed as mostly or somewhat liberal over mostly or somewhat conservative. The Wall Street Journal is viewed as more conservative by a two-to-one margin while National Public Radio is viewed as more liberal by the same margin.

  • While strong majorities of survey respondents (73.4%) believed the news media (newspapers, radio, TV and the internet) should provide equal time and space for multiple sides of issues, a similar percentage (70.9%) said the same media should be free from government involvement and allow the market to determine programming demand.

  • Nearly two-fifths of all respondents, 38.1%, said they are reading newspapers less often than they did five years ago. And, nearly half, 45.0%, agreed that the internet is adequately covering for failing newspapers, while 35.6% disagreed. More than three-quarters, 77.9%, disagreed with a statement suggesting tax dollars be used to prop up failing newspapers.

  • Poll results found 83.6% saw national news media organizations as very or somewhat biased while just 14.1% viewed them as somewhat unbiased or not at all biased. Some, 2.4%, were unsure.

  • A large majority, 89.3%, suggested the national media played a very or somewhat strong role in helping to elect President Obama. Just 10.0% suggested the national media played little or no role. Further, 69.9% agreed the national news media are intent on promoting the Obama presidency while 26.5% disagreed. Some, 3.6% were unsure.

  • Over half of Americans surveyed, 56.4%, said they agreed that the news media are promoting President Obama’s healthcare reform without objective criticism. Another 39.3% disagreed and 4.3% were unsure. Further, a majority, 57.6% of those surveyed agreed that the news media appear to be coordinating efforts to diminish the record of former Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin. One third, 34.6%, disagreed and 7.9% were unsure.

  • The poll found that, by a six-to-one margin, Americans would prefer to have their national news media cover the life of 1st Lieutenant Brian Bradshaw who was killed fighting in Afghanistan than that of entertainer Michael Jackson following their deaths on June 25, 2009. Another 14.6% suggested they would have preferred an even balance of coverage and 8.0% were unsure.

The poll, including its methodology and some commentary, can be found here.

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