- Accuracy in Media - https://www.aim.org -

Study: Conservatives Perceive Media as Biased Against Them

A new study from Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy [1] acknowledged that conservatives perceive mainstream media as biased against their worldviews. The 27-member Commission included some conservatives like Chris Ruddy and Charlie Sykes and recommended that our country work to “Build a news and information ecosystem that reflects the diversity of individual communities and our nation.”

The Commission acknowledged that the low levels of trust in the mainstream media is particularly acute among conservatives.

“There seems to be an ideological component to this general distrust, particularly among more conservative-leaning voters,” the Knight Commission report stated. “More recently, conservative media critics have argued that the traditional press—the ‘mainstream media’—is not truly objective, but rather reflects a generally liberal political perspective that purports to be unbiased. For example, a study by the American Enterprise Institute found ‘the mainstream media was strikingly more skeptical of Republican education proposals than of Democratic proposals while the education-specific media maintained greater impartiality.’ Speaking to the Knight Commission, former presidential press secretary Ari Fleischer argued that some news media have compromised their commitment to objectivity by blurring the line between reporting and opinion in their news articles and broadcasts. Even the choice of what stories get covered and how much emphasis they receive is sometimes characterized as a political decision.”

President Trump has been a target of multiple attacks by journalists using anonymous sourcing and unbalanced sourcing. Corrections issued around reports attacking President Trump are often buried in a sea of negative coverage generated by the mistaken reporting. The Commission acknowledged these general problems.

“The media should develop industrywide standards on how to disclose the ways they collect, report, and disseminate the news,” the report stated. “These include labeling news, opinion, and fact-based commentary, and avoiding advertising formats that blur the line between content and commerce. Outlets should also commit to best practices on corrections, fact-checking, anonymous sources, and tracking disinformation.”