I’m not knocking Pew. As collators of public opinion go, it’s not a bad organization. But you’ve really got to break the spines on Pew’s trust-in-the-media reports to glean the higher truths about how the public really feels about journalists and journalism.
Pew’s latest survey, released this week, reports that negative opinions about news organization performance have reached new highs, based on many of the measures it has tracked since 1985.
More respondents than ever believe that overall, media stories are often inaccurate (66 percent), news organizations unfairly tend to favor one side (77 percent), and news outlets are often influenced by powerful people and organizations (80 percent). (See the chart from Pew.)
Pew’s respondents are far from being connoisseurs of news. Instead, they appear to be slaves to their televisions, with 66 percent of them claiming to get most of their news from TV. Now, I’ve got nothing against television. I own two and keep one in my office. They are wonderful devices. But as dispensers of news, they’re not sufficient to the task.