Americans Slam News Media on Believability

Tue Jan 8, 2008 10:01am EST

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Americans see:

--  Growing media attempts to influence public opinion and policies

--  Poor quality 

--  A strong liberal bent in most media

--  Fox News, CNN and NBC as the most accurate

FAIRFIELD, Conn., Jan. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A Sacred Heart University
Poll found significantly declining percentages of Americans saying they
believe all or most of media news reporting. In the current national poll,
just 19.6% of those surveyed could say they believe all or most news media
reporting. This is down from 27.4% in 2003. Just under one-quarter, 23.9%, in
2007 said they believe little or none of reporting while 55.3% suggested they
believe some media news reporting.

"The fact that an astonishing percentage of Americans see biases and
partisanship in their mainstream news sources suggests an active and critical
consumer of information in the U.S.," stated James Castonguay, Ph.D.,
associate professor and chair of SHU's Department of Media Studies & Digital
Culture. "The availability of alternative viewpoints and news sources through
the Internet no doubt contributes to the increased skepticism about the
objectivity of profit-driven news outlets owned by large conglomerates," he
continued.

The perception is growing among Americans that the news media attempts to
influence public opinion -- from 79.3% strongly or somewhat agreeing in 2003
to 87.6% in 2007.

And, 86.0% agreed (strongly or somewhat) that the news media attempts to
influence public policies -- up from 76.7% in 2003.

Americans surveyed provided poor ratings for the national news media on six
different characteristics measured. The average overall positive rating across
all six characteristics measured was 33.4%. The highest positive rating,
40.7%, was recorded for quality of reporting followed by accuracy of reporting
at 36.9% and keeping any personal bias out of stories (33.3%).  

Other low positive ratings included: fairness (31.3%), presenting an even
balance of views (30.4%) and presenting negative and positive news equally
(27.5%).

"Americans know bias and imbalance when they see it and they don't like it.
When most service organizations strive for consumer satisfaction ratings in
the high eighties to low nineties, an overall positive rating of 40.7% is
dismal," said Jerry C. Lindsley, director of the Sacred Heart University
Polling Institute. He added, "Americans know that it's just not that hard to
present both sides and keep personal bias at home."

By four-to-one margins, Americans surveyed see The New York Times (41.9% to
11.8%) and National Public Radio (40.3% to 11.2%) as mostly or somewhat
liberal over mostly or somewhat conservative.

By a three-to-one margin, Americans see news media journalists and
broadcasters (45.4% to 15.7%) as mostly or somewhat liberal over mostly or
somewhat conservative.

And, by a two-to-one margin, Americans see CNN (44.9% to 18.4%) and MSNBC
(38.8% to 15.8%) as mostly or somewhat liberal over mostly or somewhat
conservative.

Just Fox News was seen as mostly and somewhat conservative (48.7%) over mostly
or somewhat liberal (22.3%).

The most trusted national TV news organizations, for accurate reporting, in
declining order included: Fox News (27.0%), CNN (14.6%), and NBC News
(10.90%).  These were followed by ABC News (7.0%), local news (6.9%), CBS News
(6.8%) MSNBC (4.0%), PBS News (3.0%), CNBC (0.6%) and CBN (0.5%).

In 2003, CNN led Fox News on "trust most for accurate reporting" 23.8% to
14.6%.

EXPERTS AVAILABLE FOR COMMENT
 
--  Jerry C. Lindsley, director, Sacred Heart University Polling Institute 
--  James Castonguay, Ph.D., associate professor and chair, Sacred Heart
University's Department of Media Studies & Digital Culture 
 
To speak with these experts, please contact Funda Alp at 203-396-8241 or
alpf@sacredheart.edu.
 
How the Poll Was Conducted
The Sacred Heart University Polling Institute completed 800 interviews with
residents nationwide between November 26 - December 5, 2007. The sample was
generated proportional to population contribution in all 50 states.
Statistically, a sample of 800 completed telephone interviews represents a
margin for error of +/-3.5% at a 95% confidence level. 


About Sacred Heart University
Sacred Heart University, the second-largest Catholic university in New
England, offers more than 40 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs on
its main campus in Fairfield, Connecticut, and satellites in Connecticut,
Luxembourg and Ireland. Approximately 5,800 students attend the University's
four colleges: Arts & Sciences; Education & Health Professions; University
College; and the AACSB-accredited John F. (Jack) Welch College of Business.
The Princeton Review includes SHU in its "Best 366 Colleges: 2008," U.S. News
& World Report's "America's Best Colleges 2008" ranks SHU among the best
master's universities in the North, and Intel rates it #11 among the nation's
most "unwired" campuses. SHU fields 32 division I athletic teams, and has an
award-winning program of community service. www.sacredheart.edu

For additional Sacred Heart University news, please visit
http://www.sacredheart.edu/pressroom.cfm.


SOURCE  Sacred Heart University Polling Institute

CONTACTS: Funda Alp, +1-203-396-8241, alpf@sacredheart.edu, or John Galayda,
+1-203-371-7751, galaydaj@sacredheart.edu, both of Sacred Heart University
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