A recent survey conducted by Gallup and the Knight Foundation has found that half of Americans believe national news organizations intend to mislead or persuade the public to adopt a particular point of view through their reporting, according to The Associated Press.
The survey, which goes beyond previous research showing low levels of trust in the media, shows that many believe there is an intent to deceive.
The study found that 50% of respondents disagreed with the statement that national news organizations do not intend to mislead, while only 25% agreed.
Similarly, 52% disagreed with a statement that disseminators of national news “care about the best interests of their readers, viewers, and listeners,” with only 23% believing journalists were acting in the public’s best interests.
Sarah Fioroni, a consultant for Gallup, said that the findings showed a depth of distrust and bad feeling that go beyond the foundations and processes of journalism. “That was pretty striking for us,” she said.
The study suggests that journalists need to go beyond emphasizing transparency and accuracy to show the impact of their reporting on the public.
John Sands, Knight’s senior director for media and democracy, commented that Americans “don’t seem to think that the national news organizations care about the overall impact of their reporting on the society.”
Americans expressed more trust in local news, but the survey found that 61% of Americans believe that the ability to instantly learn news from a device they hold in their hand, the rapid pace of the news cycle, and an increased number of news sources make it harder to stay informed.
The study found that 32% of Americans said they pay a great deal of attention to local news, compared to 56% in early 2020, at the outset of a presidential election year and the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The survey also found that Democrats trust news more than Republicans, and over the past five years, the level of distrust has particularly spiked among independents.
Overall, 55% of respondents said there was a great deal of political bias in coverage, compared to 45% in 2017.
The survey, conducted between May 31 and July 21, 2022, was based on a Gallup study of 5,593 Americans aged 18 and older.
In terms of how people get their news, 58% said online, 31% said television, 7% said radio, and 3% mentioned printed newspapers or magazines.
For members of Gen Z (aged 18 to 25 years old), 88% said they got their news online.
Here are the leading mainstream English-language news websites in the United States as of November 2022, by monthly visits:
- bbc.com and bbc.co.uk