Most people don’t trust campaign coverage

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From my point of view, this kind of story is much more frightening than those about plummeting ad revenue. But then, I believe the two are intimately connected.

NEW YORK Nearly two-thirds of Americans do not trust press coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign, according to a new Harvard University survey, which also revealed four out of five people believe coverage focuses too much on the trivial — and more than 60% believe coverage is politically biased.

The findings were among those in Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership National Leadership Index. The survey, which included interviews with 1,207 adults nationwide in September, focuses mostly on leadership issues. But a portion of the findings asked about views on the media in relation to leadership, with some troubling results.

[Continue reading Lack of Trust]

Believe it or not, there was a time when the American people actually trusted the media. Of course, back then, they thought the media were on their side.  Now, most seem to think that the media are more concerned about their own biases than they are about  little things like the truth.

As usual, the bias they see is overwhelmingly liberal. That’s not to say the bias exists, but it’s almost as important that people believe it exists. Polls show that, if they were to vote now, people would elect a Democrat rather than a Republican to the U.S. presidency. Despite that, nearly twice as many people see a liberal bias in media coverage as see a conservative bias. And fewer than 1 in 3 believe that the media are “neutral” in their campaign coverage.

Arguably the most important role journalists have is to provide accurate and reliable information during an election as a service to democracy. But the citizenry believes the press is neither accurate nor reliable. As I said, that’s scary news.

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This blog is maintained by Dr. Matthew M. Reavy as a service to journalism students at the University of Scranton.



November 2007
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