Internet news consumers most critical of news media, Pew Research poll says

While the overall public view on accuracy and objectivity in news media is eroding, it’s most prevalent among those who turn to the Internet as their No. 1 source for national and international news.

The results of a Pew Research Center poll released last week showed public confidence in the fairness and accuracy of the news media to be on the decline, particularly among those who rely on the Internet as the main source of national and international stories.

Among Internet news consumers, 38 percent have an unfavorable opinion of cable news compared to 25 percent of the overall public with a similar opinion. Only 17 percent of TV news viewers held an unfavorable feeling about the news media.

Additionally, the poll revealed that 68 percent of the Internet news consumers said news organizations failed to have empathy for the people they report about, and 53 percent said news media coverage was too critical of America.

According to Pew, about 25 percent of all Americans make up the Internet news audience, which tends to be younger and better-educated than the public at large. Sixty-four percent of the Internet news audience said they thought news organizations showed political bias in their reporting, compared to 46 percent of those who rely primarily on television for news. Internet news consumers also perceived news organizations to be inaccurate in their reporting more often than the TV news audience — 59 percent vs. 49 percent.

The poll, part of an ongoing examination of the public’s view of press values and performance started in 1985 by Times Mirror, found a strong partisan divide when it came to attitudes about news media. The survey revealed that 63 percent of Republicans said news media was too critical of the United States, as opposed to 23 percent of Democrats with the same view.

The Pew Research Center of the People & the Press conducted the poll July 25-29. The poll’s nationwide sample size was 1503 adults, 18 years old and older, and the margin of error was 3 percent.

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