Media Politics

Less than 40% of Americans think the mainstream media’s stories are accurate

According to a recent Gallup poll, less than 40% of Americans think the media reports news accurately.

Just over a third of Americans (37%) in 2017 say news organizations generally get the facts straight, unchanged from the last time Gallup asked this question in 2003. But despite the apparent stability in U.S. adults’ perceptions of news media accuracy, major partisan shifts in beliefs on this topic have emerged over the past 14 years. Republicans’ trust in the media’s accuracy has fallen considerably, while Democrats’ opinions on the matter have swung in the opposite direction.

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As the graph above showcases, there is a major divide between the political parties and their thoughts on the media.

Democrats: 62%

Republicans: 14%

All Adults: 37%

Gallup then looked at how people with college educations view the media.

Though political affiliation exerts the greatest influence on a person’s beliefs about the accuracy of media, education is also important. College graduates are much more likely than those without a college degree to believe news organizations generally get the facts straight when reporting the news.

In 2017, 49% of college graduates say the news media generally get the facts straight, compared with 36% of Americans who attended college but did not graduate and 28% of those with no more than a high school education. These effects are most pronounced among Democrats but are also apparent among independents.

Nearly three-fourths of Democrats (72%) with a college degree say news organizations are generally accurate, slightly more than the 63% of Democrats who attended but did not graduate college and well above the 48% of Democrats without any college education who say the same.

Independents follow a similar pattern — those with a college education are more likely than those without a college degree to say news organizations generally get the facts straight.

However, education appears to make little difference in Republicans’ beliefs about the credibility of news media. Even among Republicans with at least a college degree, 18% say the media get the facts straight — only slightly higher than the 12% of Republicans without a college degree who say the same.

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I see nothing in these numbers that the mainstream media should be excited about. They are given very poor ratings by almost every group of people. Even among Democrats without college degrees, they can only garner 48%. The only groups the media does very well with is among Democrats who have attended or graduated college. Now, this isn’t something they should take as a good sign. They do well among these groups because these are the people they represent.

Here is a breakdown of journalist’s political party affiliation:

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Only 7% of journalists are registered Republicans. Meanwhile, 28.1% are registered, Democrats. The biggest group are people who are considered “independents”. The majority of the people in this group are liberals who don’t want you to know they are liberals. Many people in the media are pushing their liberal agenda but presenting it as they are presenting fact.

Excerpt from The Washington Post:

The great thing about this survey, called “The American Journalist in the Digital Age“, is that its been conducted four previous times — in 1971, 1982, 1992 and 2002. That allows for some fascinating comparisons of how partisanship (or the lack thereof) among reporters has evolved over that time.

Back in 1971, the first time this survey was conducted, there was simply more partisanship among reporters.  More than one in three (35.5 percent) said they were Democrats while more than one in four (25.7 percent) described themselves as Republicans. At that point, 32.5 percent called themselves independents.

Over the last several decades, three things have happened: 1) The number of Democratic-identifying reporters increased steadily prior to a significant drop in the latest survey 2) The number of Republicans has steadily shrunk with that number dipping into single digits for the first time ever in the new survey c) more and more reporters are identifying as independents.  What seems to be happening — at least in the last decade – -is that journalists are leaving both parties, finding themselves more comfortable as unaffiliateds.

These numbers will likely affirm the belief in conservative circles that “all” reporters are secretly Democrats. (The study was conducted via online interviews with 1,080 reporters.)  While I am not in the business of disputing the study’s finding, I would note two caveats:

1. This is among all reporters not just political reporters. While that may seem like a minor issue, it’s worth noting that assuming these party ID numbers are true for those of us — like me — who cover politics day in and day out may not be entirely accurate.

2. The movement toward independent status among reporters is in keeping with a similar move in the broader electorate as they find the two parties increasingly rigid and, therefore, less welcoming.

The entire study, which details that journalists are less happy in their jobs than ever before and that most believe the industry is headed in the wrong direction, is worth reading in its entirety.

This Gallup poll showcases the massive distrust that Americans have for the media. The reason for this is because many don’t feel they represent them. The media’s bias isn’t just left of center but it has an elitist bias as well. The media represents the academia power structure which in my opinion has ruined this country. People who think they know better than you how to live your own life. If the media wants to improve these numbers not only should they start printing real news but they should also report what the American people actually care about. Hint, it’s not Russia.

 

 

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