National Poll Finds Only One-Quarter of Americans Believe 'All' or 'Most' of News Media Reporting

A new study titled "Trust and Satisfaction with the National News Media" was released by Sacred Heart University yesterday, and the findings are not good for MSM outlets such as the Daily Dead Fish Wrapper.   One of the primary findings says it best:  almost half of Americans "have permanently stopped watching a news media organization, print or electronic, because of perceived bias"

Here are some of the findings:

Respondents were asked if they believed all, most, some, little or none of news media reporting. Just 24.3% indicated they believe all or most news media reporting. While this is up from 19.6% in 2007, it remains lower than the 27.4% recorded in 2003.

The average, overall positive rating for the national electronic and print news media across eight service characteristics was 35.9%. Most organizations strive to attain and maintain customer satisfaction ratings in the high 80s and low 90s.

Researchers asked respondents which television news organization they turned to most frequently. The top five news organizations were Fox News (28.4% - up from 26.5% in 2007), CNN (14.9% - down from 16.0% in 2007), NBC News (10.6% - down from 11.8% in 2007), ABC News (9.3% - down from 11.0% in 2007), and "local news" (7.6% - down from 8.5% in 2007). Other organizations respondents turned to most frequently included CBS News (7.4%), MSNBC (4.3%), PBS News (1.3%), CNBC (0.6%) and CBN (0.1%).

But that can't be correct.  Keith Olberman says he has the highest ratings!

Poll results found 83.6% saw national news media organizations as very or somewhat biased while just 14.1% viewed them as somewhat unbiased or not at all biased. Some, 2.4%, were unsure.

A large majority, 89.3%, suggested the national media played a very or somewhat strong role in helping to elect President Obama. Just 10.0% suggested the national media played little or no role. Further, 69.9% agreed the national news media are intent on promoting the Obama presidency while 26.5% disagreed. Some, 3.6% were unsure.

This is sooooooo true of the Fish Wrapper.  All you have to do is go back and look at all the front page worshiping and selling of special editions on Obama last November and January.

Over half of Americans surveyed, 56.4%, said they agreed that the news media are promoting President Obama's healthcare reform without objective criticism. Another 39.3% disagreed and 4.3% were unsure. Further, a majority, 57.6% of those surveyed agreed that the news media appear to be coordinating efforts to diminish the record of former Alaska Governor, Sarah Palin. One third, 34.6%, disagreed and 7.9% were unsure.

"It is sad," suggested Jerry C. Lindsley, director of the Sacred Heart University Polling Institute, "when we find that only 55.9% say they expect the media to tell them the truth today." He added, "This perception of bias will eventually catch up with the news media outlets -- we found 45.9% have permanently stopped watching a news media organization, print or electronic, because of perceived bias."

A large majority, 85.3%, of those polled suggested they were very or somewhat aware of the term "mainstream media." Respondents saw the members of the mainstream media as: NBC (37.6%), CBS (32.6%), ABC (29.5%), CNN (27.8%), Fox News (19.9%), and MSNBC (12.6%). Over half of those surveyed, 56.1%, suggested the "mainstream media" are mostly or somewhat liberal while 16.7% suggested somewhat or mostly conservative. Some, 19.7%, saw the "mainstream media" as neutral and 7.7% were unsure. 

"The overwhelming result is not at all surprising," Lindsley suggested. "We found 70.4% agreeing that the national news media are not as responsive to consumer preferences and market desires as they claim to be. Just 25.5% disagreed."

And what about coverage of the war in Afghanistan?

The poll of 800 Americans also found 57.4% saw too little news about the men and women fighting the wars while 7.3% saw too much and 31.3% suggested there was about the right amount. Overall, 45.1% saw too little news on the wars while 9.8% saw too much and 41.3% suggested war coverage was about right. Negative news on war development was too much for 31.3% and too little for 33.5% while 30.3% said there was about the right amount.

And, majorities saw too little truthful reporting on the wars (59.6%), news on successes (60.8%), and objective/unbiased news reporting (57.0%).

The poll found that, by a six-to-one margin, Americans would prefer to have their national news media cover the life of 1st Lieutenant Brian Bradshaw who was killed fighting in Afghanistan than that of entertainer Michael Jackson following their deaths on June 25, 2009. Another 14.6% suggested they would have preferred an even balance of coverage and 8.0% were unsure.

Hmmm, how much coverage did the Fish Wrapper give to Michael Jackson's death vs, the war?

More respondents agreed (strongly or somewhat) with the statement "The news media are not as responsive to consumer preferences and market desires as they claim to be" (70.4%), than disagree (25.5%). Some, 4.1%, were unsure.

I don't know about you, but this seems pretty logical to me.  In a free market economy, success is dictated by serving your market; if you don't, you don't survive.  Pretty simple.  The reason conservative talk radio has become so popular (and while lefty radio like Air America has failed) is because it's what people want to hear.  The same is true of print media.  Circualation numbers would not be heading down the drain so quickly if the newspapers would give customers what they want; at the minimum balanced reporting, if not at least a more conservative point of view.

Nearly two-fifths of all respondents, 38.1%, said they are reading newspapers less often than they did five years ago. And, nearly half, 45.0%, agreed that the internet is adequately covering for failing newspapers, while 35.6% disagreed.

More than three-quarters, 77.9%, disagreed with a statement suggesting tax dollars be used to prop up failing newspapers.

Two-thirds, 64.1%, agreed that the health of our democracy is directly tied to the health of journalism. And, 67.9% agreed with a statement that read: "Old-style, traditionally objective and fair journalism is dead." Just one quarter, 26.5%, disagreed while 5.6% were unsure.

Yup, and it died at the Fish Wrapper a looooooong time ago.

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