Fairfacts confirmed in a post a little while back that his idea of fair is the same as that of Fox News . He did it though while commenting on a particularly interesting series of research. The research is a periodic survey, conducted since 1985 by Pew, on public attitudes to the media.
As always Fairfacts wrote good troll fodder – the best line of which was:
Considering how Fox News is prospering while the MSNBC and the New York Times for example, seem to be paying a particularly high price for their liberal bias, I hope that our own MSM in New Zealand can get the message.
That’s bound to get a rise from many – especially as the very next line was:
..the purpose of the MSM, as paid professionals is to offer fair and balanced news and analysis.
Instead of reading the entertaining yet jingoistic Fairfacts – go instead to the source – Pew’s Research Center for People and the Press – where you will find the original report. It’s fascinating stuff, but to be fair you could interpret the results in a number of ways.
In 2005, the proportion of Republicans saying news stories are often inaccurate reached a high of 68%: just 47% of Democrats agreed.
Does this mean that the reports from the news organisations actually were inaccurate? (which makes most Republicans right and half of the Democrats right) Or does it mean the reports were accurate and but that the Republicans were a bit less inclined to believe the reports than the Democrats?
Undoubtedly it means both. During the last 10 years we saw from the traditional media plenty of examples of poor journalism (e.g. not not challenging the premise behind Iraq war), an overwhelming amount of biased reporting (Fox) and plenty of one eyed rhetoric (Monica). It’s fair to say that the left and the right were never really communicating, and really still do not to this day. Go follow the health care debate if you want to see what pit of hell political discourse has descended to in the USA.
Regardless of political affiliation, all media, US and otherwise, should be looking at this table with some concern.
Not only do over 60% of people see media news as influenced, biased, inaccurate and one eyed, but a mere 27% see them as professional.
If the big news concerns are not seen as independent and professional, then the value of their authority – their brand if you will – erodes steadily. That brand is out trust in them, and if we do not trust those that bring us the news then why should we bother to watch, listen or read?
We need news organisations that we can trust to find and edit the news – reporting in a truly balanced way. We are lucky in New Zealand with our main media companies – across TV, newspapers and radio we have more than one source of news we can trust. May it continue for a long time.