Monday, June 27, 2005

Poll finds public is increasingly distrustful of media's reliability, patriotism

A new poll out by Pew indicates that people are even divided between those who think the media stands up for America and those who think it's too critical. Of course, one has to trust that the media will report the results in such a way as to objectively convey the results, something that the AP has an issue with. (Being trustworthy, that is.) The poll itself (available here) shows that while people reported they held favorable views about media, they no longer find media credible. Since 1985 the percentage of people viewing media favorably has dropped from 88% to 80%. Not a huge decline, right? In the same period, those that find media believable has dropped from 84% to 54%. Think about that. That means where once only 1 in 5 people didn't trust what the media was telling them, today it's 1 in 2. Literally every other person in the US thinks they're being lied to by the media.

It's curious that favorability rating stayed so high, considering that ratio of people who think the media's not trustworthy.

::::::::In fact, the favorable ratings for most categories of news organizations surpass positive ratings for President Bush and major political institutions � the Supreme Court, Congress, and the two major political parties. Favorable ratings for daily newspapers, local TV news and network TV news have all remained fairly stable since July 2001, even as public attitudes toward the news media have declined. The exception to this pattern are large, nationally influential newspapers, such as the Washington Post and New York Times, whose favorable ratings have declined markedly.

A majority of those surveyed found the press to be biased (60%). When asked specifically if they felt the press favored 1 side in their reporting of political events, 70% said they did which represents the highest percentage recorded with that view. In my opinion, the immediate follow-on question should have been "what side?" If that was asked, I can't find it this morning. I'll try to find more time to devote to an analysis later today.