Poll reveals declining trust in news media

Broadcast Engineering reports the findings from a new Sacred Heart University poll showing a significant decline in the percentage of Americans who say they believe all or most of media news reporting (compared to a 2003 poll).

“Currently, 19.6 percent of those surveyed said they believe all or most news media reporting, down from 27.4 percent in 2003. Just less than one-quarter in 2007 said they believed little or none of the reporting, while 55.3 percent suggested they believed some media news reporting.

The poll revealed that Americans generally gave the national news media poor ratings in six different areas measured. The average positive ratings were:

* Quality of reporting — 40.7 percent
* Accuracy of reporting — 36.9 percent
* Keeping any personal bias out of stories — 33.3 percent
* Fairness — 31.3 percent
* Presenting an even balance of views — 30.4 percent
* Presenting negative and positive news equally — 27.5 percent

Additionally, the poll showed a growing perception that the media try to sway public opinion, 87.6 percent, up from 79.3 percent in 2003, and public policy, 86 percent versus 76.7 percent in 2003.”

Hmm. Only a third of those surveyed think the media keeps personal bias out of stories. In 35 years, I’ve never met a reporter who didn’t believe he or she was totally objective and free from personal bias. Wonder who’s right?

3 thoughts on “Poll reveals declining trust in news media

  1. “As a journalist I have to admit to the bias I consciously know I suffer from and work all the more to be fair to the subjects of my stories.”
    Kay is the news director of Radio Iowa, one of Learfield’s state news networks. She takes her responsibility –as do most of our reporters– so seriously, I don’t think she’s voted in a national election in the last 20 years.
    Kay started blogging in May, 2006 and kept at it right through the Iowa Caucuses.
    http://learfield.typepad.com/radioiowa/
    Not everyone who posted a comment to Kay’s posts would agree, but I found her posts amazingly fair. If she was up or down on any of the candidates, I never spotted it.

  2. Dear Uncle Steve,
    I guess we’ve never discussed this topic given you wrote the following: “in 35 years, I’ve never met a reporter who didn’t believe he or she was totally objective and free from personal bias.”
    I’m one of those working journalists and I have never pretended to be “objective.” What I do strive to be is fair — fair, most especially, to the listeners, readers, viewers who consume my stories, blog posts, etc.
    I concede to being quite human, laden with all sorts of biases, so being objective is, in my opinion, a utopian goal — nice in theory but unworkable in reality. As a journalist I have to admit to the bias I consciously know I suffer from and work all the more to be fair to the subjects of my stories.

  3. I tend to agree with the statistics. The New York Times is known to have left” leaning perspective. Fox News Network is known favor the “right.” Hell, even our local AM news/talk powerhouse’s on air talent are unabashed about their political persuasion.
    I understand talk show hosts and opinion columnists don’t “report the news” but they do discuss relevant current political events and offer their opinions based on their political viewpoint.
    Quite possibly the problem is the line has been blurred between what is being reported as news and what is opinion.

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