Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Very Sad

From the Atlantic's Derek Thompson on Twitter, reporting on a Knight Foundation survey about trust in the media:

A very short thread on the new Knight-Gallup media report. The big takeaway is that Fox News is a uniquely successful—and, I would say, uniquely detrimental—force in the news media ecosystem. Here's a look at the top "objective" news sources for Democrats and Republicans:

Democrats are evenly divided among several—CNN, NPR, NBC News, New York Times—that, while flawed and surely staffed by some liberals, are reliable sources of non-partisan (or, at least, multi-partisan) news and views.

And then you have Republicans, who basically just trust whatever Fox News says.

On the one hand, what an extraordinary commercial success story for Fox News, to have achieved unique monopoly power over the distribution of political information to one party.

There is no equivalent on the left.

On the other hand ... what a civic disaster.

FORTY PERCENT of Republicans told Gallup that “accurate news stories that cast a politician or political group in a negative light” are always fake news.

Conservative media did not build an ecosystem to rival the perceived (and, sometimes, fairly described) "liberal" news media. It built an army to overthrow trust in news reporting and replace it with a propaganda network that protects GOP ideology and individuals.
Aside from the obviously distressing Fox News data, the thing I can't get over is that significantly more Democrats mentioned CNN as objective than they did NPR... and both were mentioned more than three times as often as the New York Times. (I guess this may be more of a "top of mind" awareness measure, than an actual rating of perceptions, where the respondents would be prompted to rate each media source. People in general are more likely to see one of the 24-hour news stations or the 24-hour radio service than they are to read a print newspaper, even if it's online, so in a sense it's a popularity vote.)

It's worth noting that these assessments of objectiveness are drawn only from the people who said they could think of an objective news source in the first place. Over all, that was only 44 percent of respondents (42 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of Democrats) (source: page 12 of the Knight report). So the 60 percent number for Fox, while still alarming is 60 percent of 42 percent... therefore, about 24 percent of Republicans.

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