Americans continue to like news outlets, survey says

Despite more Americans questioning the fairness and patriotism of news organizations in their reporting, most people said they like their news outlets, according to a study released last Sunday by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

The public’s attitudes toward the press, as part of a broader study, remains positive, except for some of the larger national newspapers including The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Local, national and cable TV news as well as local daily newspapers were seen in a favorable light. The study found favorable ratings of:

  • Local newspapers: 80 percent
  • Local TV news: 79 percent
  • Cable TV news networks: 79 percent
  • Network TV news: 75 percent

The study also found that one-third of the public under the age of 40 uses online news outlets as its primary source of news. Many read newspapers online too.

The public also categorized news outlets according to whether it perceived an individual outlet as fact-based or opinion-based. According to the survey, 61 percent saw local TV news as mostly reporting facts rather than opinions. Fifty-four percent viewed daily newspapers as fact-based, 53 percent saw network TV news as fact-based, and less than 45 percent saw cable news as fact-based.

The survey found the public to be critical of the news media’s patriotism and fairness. Forty-two percent saw the press as standing up for America, compared with 51 percent who said it did in July 2003. Forty percent said the news media is too critical of the country.

The survey also revealed that 60 percent viewed news outlets as politically biased and 72 percent said they favored one side instead of treating all sides without bias. Additionally, 73 percent viewed news outlets as being influenced by the powerful and not independent.

Pew Research contacted 1464 Americans between June 8-12 for the survey.

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