Friday, September 23, 2011

Little Trust in the Media - But Less in Business and Government

So, you work in the media, and you hear that by record numbers the public considers the media inaccurate, biased, influenced by powerful interests and even immoral. How do you live with yourself?
Easy, when you read a little deeper. Even with all this, the public still trusts the media more than business, government or politicians.
All this is from the Pew Research Center’s insightful View of the News Media, 1985-2011, just published. Among its important findings:

• More Americans think the news media are often inaccurate (66%), one-sided (77%) and easily influenced by powerful groups (80%) than ever before.
• Local news organizations are still highly trusted as a source of information (69%), with business (41%), Congress (37%) and political candidates (29%) falling far behind.
• TV is the main source of national and international news, maintaining essentially the same 20-point lead over the Internet that it enjoyed last year.
• The dominant news medium is cable TV – when Americans are asked to name a “news organization,” 63% cite a cable channel.
• 58% of Americans say that the media’s criticism of political leaders is worthwhile because it keeps them “from doing things that should not be done” – with essentially the same percentage among all political viewpoints.
• 27% at least sometimes get their news through Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites – increasing to 38% for those under 30.
• 42% - a record high – say that the press is “immoral,” but majorities also believe that the media try to do a good job and are highly professional.

It’s hard to know what to make of all this. But as an ex-journalist now working mainly for businesses, it’s painful, anyway you look at it.
- Potomac Communications Group

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