Poll: Americans Believe MSM Has Liberal Bias, Doing Poor Job As Government Watchdog

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A poll released last week shows Americans’ faith in traditional mainstream media as an unbiased source for incisive government monitoring continues to decline, as Internet-based news outlets continue to gain the trust of readers fed up with what they believe is a liberal bias among traditional news sources.

The expansive Pew Research poll, released last Thursday, shows public perception of the mainstream news media “mired near all-time lows,” even as respondents continue to believe that it’s the job of news organizations to watch the government and prevent elected leaders and policy makers from aggrandizing unConstitutional power.

From the poll’s summary report:

Outside of its role as a watchdog, the press receives broadly negative ratings from the public on core performance measures. Two-thirds (67%) say that news reports are often inaccurate, and even greater percentages say that news organizations tend to favor one side (76%) and are often influenced by powerful people and organizations (75%). Ratings of news organizations have declined steadily since Pew Research first began tracking attitudes in 1985, and many current ratings stand near all-time lows reached in 2011.

When it comes to bias, which way do viewers think the mainstream media leans? Not surprisingly, more respondents believe the news veers to the left. Of those surveyed, 46 percent said the media reflects liberal ideology, while only 26 percent believe the news is biased toward a conservative point of view. Another 19 percent felt the media’s reporting is largely unbiased, and 9 percent said they didn’t know.

The move toward the Internet and away from print media as a viable news option represents a major shift in consumer habits over the past decade, when Pew conducted a similar study. In 2001, 45 percent of respondents said they primarily looked to newspapers as their source for news, with only 13 percent relying on the Internet.

Today, 50 percent say they go to the Internet first for news, with only 28 percent citing newspapers as their primary choice.

See more from the study, including a breakdown of how consumer behavior differs according to party lines, at the Pew website.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • considering

    Wonder what the real reason is for Bezos buying the Post? Newspapers are merely tools for promoting agendas and influencing the sheep if used correctly and this gentleman has some ideas in mind. He does not need the money so??????? Watch this space as they say!

  • Dave

    Oh BS, the media is not liberal or conservative…. its a corp bias.
    They are here to make money…. so if it means a Democrat or GOP scandal, they are fi9ne with it… as long as it sells. Who cares if it is right or not?
    90% of what you see, read and hear are owned by 5 multinational companies.

    • Vis Fac

      I can tell you are one of the 9% FF spoke of. Money is always part of the equation. Look who is providing the money and you have your answer. It’s not rocket science, it’s common sense and observation. (hint “corporate” bailout by the government)

      Libertas inaestimabilis res est
      Semper-Fi

  • Bill

    We have many options for our news sources, and if we do not like something, we can just turn it off and go elsewhere.

  • FreedomFighter

    “When it comes to bias, which way do viewers think the mainstream media leans? Not surprisingly, more respondents believe the news veers to the left. Of those surveyed, 46 percent said the media reflects liberal ideology, while only 26 percent believe the news is biased toward a conservative point of view. Another 19 percent felt the media’s reporting is largely unbiased, and 9 percent said they didn’t know.”
    Let me translate this poll:46 percent are not utterly brain dead, 26 percent have been utterly brainwashed by media, fed mind altering pharmaceuticals, GMOs, chemicals in the water and cannot now distinguish left from right or right from wrong. Amazing 26% really does come close to the number of people on mind altering pharmaceuticals and is extremely close to the estimated number of progressive liberals in the country, coincidence? I think not. 19 percent are mentally handicapped, and 9 percent live on another planet or don’t speak English.
    Laus DeoSemper FI

    • Kinetic1

      FF,

      “Amazing 26% really does come close to the number of people on mind
      altering pharmaceuticals and is extremely close to the estimated number of progressive liberals in the country.”

      Would you care to share your sources? I too question the coincidental nature of your numbers, but I believe our conclusions may differ.

  • The GLB

    Pew is proposing the wrong premise, instead of: News Organizations Seen as Watchdog, Protecting Democracy (which is open to varied interpretations), the poll should ask: ARE News Organizations Seen as Watchdog, Protecting Democracy?

    Of course news organizations are supposed to be watchdogs, but are they?

  • Michael Shreve

    YET, FAR to many still BELIEVE the manure the media portrays as reality.