Friday, April 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

News You Can Abuse

A new Pew research survey shows ongoing decline in belief in the news media, just in time for a presidential election.

News You Can Abuse

Results of a new survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press show an onoing decline in believability in the news media -- just in time for a presidential election.

Very depressing.

The survey of 13 news organizations finds an overall believability of 56 percent, down six points from 62 percent just two years ago and down 15 points from 71 percent in 2002.

Local TV news gets the highest believability rating (65 percent) while the New York Times, Fox News and USA Today tie for the lowest rating (49 percent).

You can read the full survey results here.

The credibility of newspapers, broadcast news and especially cable news continues to sink with the biggest drop over the last decade at MSNBC, a 23-point decline. Almost half of that plunge, 10 points, came in just the last two years.

(I find this finding understandable since what little MSNBC coverage I've seen tends to be liberals agreeing with each other.)

The Pew findings also support liberal-media-bias thinking.

"Partisan differences have grown as Republicans’ views of the credibility of news outlets have continued to erode. Today, there are only two news organizations – Fox News and local TV news – that receive positive believability ratings from at least two-thirds of Republicans. A decade ago, there were only two news organizations that did not get positive ratings from at least two-thirds of Republicans.

"By contrast, Democrats generally rate the believability of news organizations positively; majorities of Democrats give all the news organizations tested ratings of 3 or 4 on the 4-point scale, with the exception of Fox News."

This supports my own long-held view that around-the-clock broadcast caterwauling by agenda-driven personalities offers only a one-sided look at events, creating a data brain-freeze in which consumers aren't interested in or capable of assimilating more information.

Couple this with evident aversion to reading detailed, balanced analysis of news or factual content (and the too-frequent abdication of print media in providing it; whether by editorial choice or due to declining resources) and what's left is the same broad chasm of thought that dominates congress and our current politics.

It's sad that during a presidential election, at a time news ought to be most relevant, it continues a credibility slide with far too many voters.


John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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