The news media gets low rankings for its performance, but it is still more trusted than politicans.
Stop the presses! Stop them, that is, from being inaccurate, biased, or from being unduly influenced. These are the sentiments from a new study conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press that paints an unfavorable portrait of the news media.
First the bad news: Negative opinions about the performance of news media organizations now equal or surpass all-time highs on nine of 12 core measures that Pew has been tracking since 1985. And now the good news: News organizations, Pew found, “are more trusted sources of information than are many other institutions, including government and business.”
Only a quarter said that in general news organizations report news stories accurately, down from 39 percent four years ago. Two-thirds believe the news they are getting is inaccurate, up from 53 percent in 2007. Interestingly, these bleak statistics do not apply to the source from which respondents said they get their news. Sixty-two percent have faith that their primary news source is getting their stories straight.
At least news organizations are held in higher as a source of information than are federal, state and local governments, the Obama administration and business corporations. Nearly 70 percent say they have at least some trust in the information that get from local news organizations, while nearly 60 percent say they trust national news organizations. In comparison, about half say they trust information gleaned from their state government (51 percent) and the Obama administration (50 percent). Not surprisingly, political candidates rank lowest on the trust-meter (29 percent).
Television continues its reign as the leading source of national and international news, but the gap between TV and the Internet has narrowed. Currently, 66 percent cite television as their primary news source and 43 percent cite the Internet. Four years ago, roughly three times as many people cited TV than the Internet as their primary news source (74 percent vs. 24 percent).
People’s perceptions of the news media are most informed by television news outlets, specifically cable news outlets, Pew found. Say “news organization” and nearly two-thirds volunteer the name of a cable news outlet, such as CNN and Fox News. Fewer than one-in-five mention local news outlets, and only five percent mentioned a national newspaper such as The New York Times or Wall Street Journal.
Social networks, though, are getting into the act and beginning to wield some influence. Twenty-seven percent of adults say they regularly or sometimes get news or news headlines through Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites. This rises to 38 percent of people younger than 30, traditionally the earliest adopters of new technology.
In a 2011 mobile technology and social media study conducted by Millionaire Corner, smartphone and computer tablet users said that other than using their devices for emails and communicating with other, they most use them to get the news.