Accuracy in Media

A new Gallup poll shows that 55% of Americans surveyed do not have confidence in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. That is actually down from last year when 57% said they lacked confidence in the media, but depending on your view, that could be a good thing, or not.

In general, how much trust and confidence do you have in the mass media -- such as newspapers, TV, and radio -- when it comes to reporting the news fully, accurately, and fairly? 1997-2011 trend

On the issue of whether or not the media are biased in favor of one side or the other, 47% of respondents said the media were too liberal and just 13% said it favored conservatives.

In general, do you think the news media are too liberal, just about right, or too conservative? 2001-2011 trend

The bias perception ran largely along party lines with 75% of Republicans saying the media were too liberal followed by Independents at 50% and Democrats at 20%. However only 20% of Democrats said the media were too conservative followed by Independents at 13% and Republicans at 4%. The majority of Democrats (57%) actually thought that the media got it just about right, indicating that their primary news sources are probably MSNBC and The New York Times. This would suggest that the Democrats aren’t really looking for fair and balanced news as much as a reinforcement of their views.

A clearer picture emerges when those polled are broken down into conservative, moderate and liberal labels. The picture changes slightly with 37% of liberals saying the media are too conservative while 75% of conservatives think they are too liberal.

Perceptions of Media Bias, by Party and Ideology, September 2011

Even though Republicans and conservatives aren’t a match 100% of the time, the survey shows that when it comes to bias both groups are clearly united in saying the the media are liberal, which is what AIM has been saying for 42 years. On the other hand, a plurality of Democrats and liberals think the news is just about right, with a whopping 20% of Democrats saying that the media are too liberal compared to just 4% of Republicans who think the opposite is true. It kind of lays waste to their claims that Fox News is an arm of the Republican Party.

If the mainstream media wants to regain the public’s trust all they have to do is report the news fairly and accurately, but that apparently isn’t in their DNA.

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