by WorldTribune Staff, August 4, 2020
The hope for an objective news media in the United States is fading fast, a new Gallup Poll says.
In the poll by the Knight Foundation and Gallup, 73 percent of Americans see bias in news reporting as “a major problem.”
The poll also cut along partisan lines, showing 71 percent of Republicans indicating they have a very or somewhat unfavorable opinion of the news media, compared to 22 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of independents.
Previous studies have shown more than 90 percent negative coverage of President Donald Trump by the corporate media since he took office in January 2017.
“The gap between what Americans expect from the news — and what they think they are getting — is growing,” the Knight Foundation said.
The poll of 20,000 people found that American say the major media has become not only increasingly partisan but actually willing and eager to push an agenda. As a result, the media’s ability to hold leaders accountable is greatly diminished in the public’s eye.
More than 8 in 10 in the new poll say that when they suspect an inaccuracy in a story, they worry it was intentional – because the reporter was misrepresenting the facts (54 percent) or making them up (28 percent). Only 16 percent said they thought the inaccuracies were innocent mistakes. And when it comes to news sources they distrust, nearly 8 in 10 Americans (79 percent) say those outlets are trying to persuade people to adopt a certain opinion.
In the new poll, 48 percent of Americans blame the media “a great deal” for the country’s political division.
A bright spot for journalism in the poll was the link local news has to civic engagement. People who read and watch local news are more likely to take part in important community issues, and 81 percent are more likely to participate in local elections, the poll found.
And Americans still believe the media is vital for democracy. The vast majority in the poll (84 percent) say that the news media is “critical” (49 percent) or “very important” (35 percent) to provide accurate information and hold the powerful accountable.