Accuracy in Media

The one-paragraph story appeared on page 1 D in USA Today and the headline was “Gallup Survey: Trust in media is growing.” But it should have said: “Trust in media is 20 points behind 1976 levels.” That’s what the survey showed.

Isn’t it interesting how the media will publicize President Bush’s falling approval ratings but will not emphasize their own?

The “growing” trust in the media consisted of confidence in the media rising from 44 percent last year to 50 percent in the latest survey. But it was 54 percent in 2003, 68 percent in 1972, and 72 percent in 1976. On the other hand, 49 percent have not very much or no confidence at all in the media.

What’s more, the Gallup poll found that the media were the last in a list of eight civic entities in terms of receiving confidence from the people. The executive branch was 52 percent, two points above the mass media.

In other fascinating results, the poll found that “The most common view of the political leanings of the news media is that they are too liberal?close to half of Americans say this?followed by more than a third who say they are about right.” It added, “Republicans are much less likely than Democrats to express confidence in the media, but are much more likely to perceive bias in the news media, with most Republicans saying they are too liberal.”

On the issue of how people perceive the liberal political slant of the media, Gallup said that, since 2001, the percentage of Americans saying the media are too liberal has ranged between 45 percent and 48 percent “and has always been the plurality response.”

Among Republicans, eight in 10 say the news media are too liberal. Among Democrats, 57 percent say the media are just about right, while 18 percent say the media are too liberal and 23 percent say the media are too conservative.

This survey provides more evidence about the awareness of the American people of the liberal media bias they see, read and hear.

But don’t expect to see any banner headlines about the media having a credibility problem. The media would rather make the claim that others are more unpopular than them.

This may be true in some cases. The difference is that we can vote elected officials out of office. Biased anchors and reporters usually hold on to their jobs no matter how few people tune into their programs.

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