Accuracy in Media

A majority of Americans, 56 percent, say the news industry is headed in the wrong direction while 42 percent say it’s heading in the right direction, according to a new report by the Media Insight Project, a joint initiative of the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

In the age of anonymous sourcing, the survey of more than 2,000 people in the general public found 68 percent say they want journalists to offer more information about the sources or evidence cited in a story.

The survey interviewed 1,127 journalists and found that “Journalists also view the media’s direction more negatively than positively. Sixty-one percent say that the news industry is headed in the wrong direction.”

“Views about the direction of the media correspond with trust,” Nieman Lab reported. “While 73 percent of those who trust the news media generally say the media is headed in the right direction, 92 percent of those who say it is untrustworthy think the media is headed in the wrong direction.”

Republicans are also much more likely to say the press does not accurately cover Republicans and conservatives. Majorities of Republicans say conservatives (53 percent) and their own party (51 percent) are portrayed inaccurately.

Republicans are also the most likely to say that Democrats are not accurately portrayed — over a third (35 percent) say the media covers this group inaccurately — more than twice the proportion of Democrats who say so (15 percent). These opinions among Republicans warrant further assessment to reconnect with this audience.”

The survey found that both the general public and journalists believe people who live in rural areas are not covered accurately.

“Sixty-four percent of Democrats say the watchdog role is extremely/very important, compared to 50 percent of Republicans and 39 percent of independents. In terms of age, adults age 45 and older (61 percent) are more likely than adults under age 45 (45 percent) to think the watchdog role is important.

“And whites (58 percent) are more likely than blacks (42 percent) and Hispanics (46 percent) to say this is important. Finally, education is also a differentiator, with a divide between those with no college (48 percent) and college (66 percent).”


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