President Trump has been chastised for calling out the credibility of mainstream media, but he’s not alone. In a study released today, results show “nearly half of all Americans describe the news media as ‘very biased.” The study, conducted by Knight Foundation and Gallup was described as “sobering.”
Part of the ‘sobering’ aspect is that data was compiled before the coronavirus lockdown and nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd. The overwhelming likelihood is those events would further the percentage divides. Using a random sample of 20,046 American adults between November 8, 2019, and February 16, 2020, the study claims a margin of error of plus or minus 1%.
In the findings, 73% of Americans believe bias in news reports is a major problem, up from 65% two years ago. “Those surveyed also didn’t believe much in honest mistakes. When there were inaccuracies in articles, 54% of Americans said they believed reporters misrepresented facts, while 28% said reporters were making things up in their entirety” the Associated Press reported.
It was determined that 71% of Republicans have a “very” or “somewhat” unfavorable opinion of the news media, while Democrats were at only 22%. On the flip side, 54% of Democrats have a very favorable view of the media, and only 13% of Republicans feel the same way.
It appears the decline of confidence in the media while having dropped significantly over the past year, has been on a slow burn since 1999. The Knight and Gallup poll reports 41% of Americans have a great deal of confidence in the ability of the media to report the news fairly, but that is down from 55% in a “similar survey” from 1999.
Director of learning and impact at the Knight Foundation, John Sands, said the concerns over media bias is “a bad thing for democracy.” “Our concern is that when half of Americans have some sort of doubt about the veracity of the news they consume, it’s going to be impossible for our democracy to function,” said Sands.
“We’re starting to see more retrenchment among those who have already expressed deep concerns,” said Sands. “Moving the dial on these attitudes becomes more and more difficult for media organizations” he added.