Pew Research: Press Accuracy Rating Hits Two Decade Low

The latest survey on news media from Pew Research shows that the public’s assessment of the accuracy of news stories is now at its lowest level in more than two decades of Pew Research surveys, and Americans’ views of media bias and independence now match previous lows.
media fairness“Just 29% of Americans say that news organizations generally get the facts straight, while 63% say that news stories are often inaccurate. In the initial survey in this series about the news media’s performance in 1985, 55% said news stories were accurate while 34% said they were inaccurate. That percentage had fallen sharply by the late 1990s and has remained low over the last decade.”

Pew also polls on each of the major national media organs.  By their count CNN fares best, as even a plurality of Republicans view it favorably.  Perhaps just as surprisingly, Fox News — which has been the subject of far-Left derision for years — comes in a close second, with a plurality of Democrats approving of their performance.  In the aggregate, though, broadcast network news does best with 64% favorable, and majorities of both Republicans and Democrats approving.

The New York Times fared the worst.  Only 29% give the paper a favorable rating, with Republicans going 2-1 unfavorable (31%-16%), much worse than the statistical tie the GOP gives on MSNBC (35%-34% unfavorable).  Independents, which give all other outlets wide pluralities or majorities for positive assessments, only give the Paper of Record a wan 29%-18% plurality.

In the final analysis, the Pew numbers show a terrible decline in credibility on news reports.  In 1985, 55% of the American people had confidence in the mainstream media to get the facts straight; now it’s merely 29%.  Now, 63% say their reports are “often inaccurate,” up from 34% in 1985.  Small wonder that the mainstream media now struggle to keep readers and viewers.


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