Thursday, 17 September 2009

US Public 'No Confidence' In Media Shock Horror

Image source: Pew Research Center

A poll carried out in the USA and published this week has shown that the US public have no faith in the credibility of media. The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press poll found that some 71% of respondents did not feel that media got the facts straight in news reports, 63% felt that information from the media was ‘often off base’. Only 26% of people surveyed believed that the press took care to avoid bias.

71% of people depended on TV as their primary news source. But, this figure really fascinated me, 42% depend on the Internet (people could pick more than one medium, so you’re not going to add up to 100). And only 33% on newspapers. That Web figure compares to the 6% that relied on the Web ten years ago, incidentally.

This all takes place in a year when Google’s Q1 revenues equated to total US print advertising spending – and where newspaper ad sales dropped by some 29% in the first half of 2009. Did the Internet drop ‘em or the recession drop ‘em? It’s academic – Internet revenues went up so, whatever you slice it, print (and, incidentally, television and radio) is being eclipsed by the Internet.

It’s been a slow erosion of confidence, not an overnight one. Back in 1985, 55% of Americans believed their media generally got things right – this year, that’s down to 29%. The report shows a general consensus emerging regardless of political belief, but also highlights an average increase of 16% in people who do not believe the press is professional.

70% of those surveyed believed that news organisations ‘try to cover up their mistakes’. 74% of people believed that the press was biased in favour of big business and powerful people.

So we have a broad and growing distrust of mainstream media that you would have to consider to be close to fundamental and a clear movement to increased reliance on online media. That’s not rocket science, but these is numbers.

It’s always nice to be able to back your beliefs with numbers.


J.Gerson said...

It's a "slow erosion" until you realise that the vast majority of news on the internet originates with newspapers.

Scott said...

I think you're mixing apples and oranges here Alex. Online is just the place where more and more people are getting the news they don't trust. Also, if you read into the report, there's a strong inference that US readers view as accurate only those media organizations that they align with politically (ie. Republicans trust Fox News, Democrats don't)

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said...

no surprise. Most Americans are idiots and think that Iraq and Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9-11, when they didn't.

the U.S mainstream media is such a filthy whore.

Anonymous said...

If people are getting their news from the internet it is usually from the likes of the BBC and CNN online, or online newspaper sites, so little change in reality. Same content, just a different medium

Anonymous said...

Very thoughtfull post on confidence .It should be very much helpfull

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