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Ed Driscoll

New Gallup Poll Says Americans Are Tuning TV News Out

July 12th, 2012 - 2:54 pm

At Big Journalism, William Bigelow writes, “According to a new Gallup poll measuring Americans’ confidence in television news, the level is the lowest since the poll was begun in 1993:”

21% of adults expressed a great deal of confidence in television news reporting. No wonder CNN’s ratings are in the toilet.

Gallup tested 16 institutions, including newspapers, and TV news ranked 11th. Newspapers were ranked 10th. There was an interesting divide among those on the left; Democrats were the most confident in television news of all the groups surveyed (now there’s a shock) but postgraduates, who are more generally Democrats, had the least confidence in the TV news industry. This would tend to imply that well-educated people were more distrustful of what was spoon-fed them by the TV media, while those who were lower-income Democrats didn’t question the TV media’s bias toward the left.

A very important statistic showed that moderates were much less confident than they were in 2008, which could mean a great deal in the November election because if the moderates view the TV news with suspicion, they will be less likely to vote for Barack Obama.

At Newsbusters, Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center isn’t exactly shocked by this report:

So what could possibly account for this drop? The answer is simple: the networks refuse to Tell the Truth, and the American people are sick and tired of it. Even liberals (19 percent) and moderates (20 percent) have lost faith in TV news, although, not surprisingly, self-identified Democrats have the highest confidence at 34 percent compared to 17 percent for Republicans and 17 percent for Independents. This shouldn’t come as any shock given the media’s torrid love affair with Democrat superhero Barack Obama.

Whether it’s CBS claiming current tax rates will somehow “cost taxpayers,” or CNN scolding a Republican for being a “sore loser” for not embracing ObamaCare, or The New York Times once again blaming Bush on Obama’s behalf, the media have continued to show a complete contempt for the truth. And those are just a few examples from the past couple of weeks.

But Bozell and Bigelow are conservative new media types like we are — we should also check in with old media for their take on this. Why would Americans not trust the news? Maybe Dan Rather has some thoughts:

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Let’s ask NBC to splice up a reaction to this report:

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Perhaps we should ask someone who works for a subsidiary of the Washington Post for his thoughts:

I wonder if Editor & Publisher, the house organ for old media’s print division might have some ideas on the subject of objectivity? What’s that you say? “Climate Change: Get Over Objectivity, Newspapers.”  Ahh, noted. Say, what other topics would you advise them to get over objectivity on?

But hey, this is a TV news story. So maybe someone at CNN — or who used to be affiliated with CNN might have some thoughts on the topic:

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Well, after checking with a variety of sources in old media, I can now safely report back that they’re as flummoxed as you are as to why old media isn’t trusted these days. Just ask Diane Sawyer:

“You know, I wanted to sit on a jury once and I was taken off the jury. And the judge said to me, ‘Can, you know, can you tell the truth and be fair?’ And I said, ‘That’s what journalists do.’ And everybody in the courtroom laughed. It was the most hurtful moment I think I’ve ever had.”

Oh I don’t know. Personally, I doubt she found their reaction to be all that “unexpectedly” a development.

Related: “The ‘truth’ deleted from internet in China,” according to the London Telegraph:

Online messages began circulating earlier this week claiming that the Chinese characters for “the truth” could not be searched for on the Twitter-like micro-blog, Sina Weibo, which boasts nearly 300 million registered users.

Attempts to search Weibo for “the truth” on Thursday turned up the message: “According to relevant laws, regulations and policies, search results for ‘the truth’ cannot be displayed.”

It is not known how long the term has been blocked or why but one internet-user said they had first noticed the truth was missing in late June. Sina Weibo did not respond to requests for information

Presumably, for many in old media, this article is a how-to guide, not a warning. Just ask Thomas Friedman.

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