The folks at Gallup are saying 86% of respondents to a recent “American Views” survey believe the media is biased. People saw only a small amount of bias in their own favorite news agencies, but 69% felt other outlets were very biased. During the Obama and Trump presidencies, Americans’ perceptions of bias in the way news stories are delivered increased by 25%.
The Knight Foundation – a non-profit that seeks to promote quality journalism – is the underwriter of the “American Views” report. It’s a months-long study with well over 20,000 respondents.
The group studied the information and concluded:
“Americans’ views on the media have been negative for quite some time but have become slightly more so over the past few years. Americans perceive more — often political — bias in the news media and suspect it intentionally pushes a particular perspective. With a highly fragmented news ecosystem, the public faces real challenges sorting out what is ‘real’ from ‘fake news.’”
The Great Fake Out
Americans – including Republicans, Democrats, and Independents – believe the media is trying to trick the electorate. An alarming 74% think media conglomerate owners sit in secret meetings and decide how to cover the news. Another 54% believe that inaccuracies are reported on purpose, and 28% say that reporters make up stories to get ratings and follow a personal bias.
That bothers Knight Foundation Senior Vice President Sam Gill. “Most Americans have lost confidence in the media to deliver the news objectively. This is corrosive for our democracy,” he said.
Time Will Tell
The saving grace found in the survey results is the fact that Americans believe journalism and media are vital to a free society. They also understand the role of providing accurate news coverage and that holding those in power accountable for their actions is their biggest responsibility.
America is watching and waiting to see how the news media reacts to this information. Will the people put well-deserved faith back into the deliverers of the daily news – or power off for good?