12.06.2007 04:10 PM
Majority of public distrusts media coverage of 2008 campaign, study says

A recent report from Harvard University has found that 64 percent of Americans distrust the news media’s coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign.

The report, “A National Study of Confidence in Leadership” from the Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, paints a poor picture of the press in the minds of the public — particularly its leadership. According to the report, the public has said it has less confidence in leadership of the press than in any other sector of society measured for the past three years.

The report found:

  • 88 percent agree that the news media focuses too much on trivial rather than important issues;
  • 84 percent say the news media has too much influence on voters’ decisions;
  • 83 percent believe large corporations have too much influence over what information the news media reports during the campaign.

The report also revealed the public belief that when it comes to campaign coverage, the media do not focus enough attention on important issues and give too much play to trivial matters. For example, the study found that 70 percent say coverage of negative ads isn’t too important, but 65 percent say the media is providing too much negative ad coverage.

The study also reveals that 61 percent of Americans believe media coverage is politically biased, with 40 percent saying they believe the media are too liberal and 21 percent saying they believe the media are too conservative. Thirty percent say campaign coverage is not politically biased in either direction.

To read the report, visit www.ksg.harvard.edu/leadership/images/CPLpdf/172508%20nli%20index%202007.pdf.

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