There’s a damning reportout today by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. But upon closer inspection, while not great, it may be not as depressing as it seems. There are two stories about it at The Washington Post, one is an AP storyposted last night and another was part of Howard Kurtz’s regular Monday column.
Kurtz wrings his hands.
Public respect for the media has plunged to a new low, with just 29 percent of Americans saying that news organizations generally get their facts straight.
That figure is the lowest in more than two decades of surveys by the Pew Research Center, which also found just 26 percent saying news outlets are careful that their reporting is not politically biased. And 70 percent say news organizations try to cover up their mistakes. That amounts to a stunning vote of no confidence.
I guess that’s pretty bad, but, and as a blogger it pains me to point this out, according to the AP story,
The poll didn't distinguish between Internet bloggers and reporters employed by newspapers and broadcasters, leaving the definition of "news media" up to each individual who was questioned. The survey polled 1,506 adults on the phone in late July.
Ah, well, we bloggers don’t have the greatest reputation for accuracy or non-partisanship. So while there’s been a drop off of 26% since 1985 in the percentage of people who think news organizations “get the facts straight,” 24 years ago nobody knew that bloggers would be invented.
New York Times editor points that out.
"The great flood that goes under the heading `news media' has been poisoned by junk blogs, gossip sheets, shout radio and cable-TV partisans that don't deserve to be trusted," Keller told The Associated Press in an e-mail.
For the mainstream media, there is still a glimmer of hope.
Even as more people than ever don't believe everything in the news, Pew found that the public still seems to value the media. When asked how they would feel about a news outlet closing, 82 percent said it would be an important loss if there were no local TV news and 74 percent said it would be a major blow to lose their local newspaper.