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Friday, 14 August 2020 21:14

American Views 2020: Trust, Media and Democracy

Index

Americans suspect inaccuracies in reporting are designed to push a specific agenda.

 

  • Americans perceive inaccurate news to be intentional---either because the reporter is misrepresenting the facts (54%) or making them up entirely (28%).
  • Nearly eight in 10 Americans (79%) say news organizations they distrust are trying to persuade people to adopt a certain viewpoint, while 12% say they are trying to report the news accurately and fairly but are unable to do so.
  • Eight percent of Americans say distrusted media are trying to ruin the country, driven largely by the 1 in 5 Americans who identify as “very conservative” and 1 in 10 Republicans who feel this way.

 

Differences in Americans' opinions of the news media are most pronounced by political party affiliation.

 

  • Almost three-fourths of Republicans (71%) have a “very” or “somewhat” unfavorable opinion of the news media, compared to 22% of Democrats and 52% of independents.
  • Democrats and Republicans differ greatly in their ratings of the media on every aspect of performance, including providing objective news reports, holding political and business leaders accountable for their actions and helping Americans stay informed about current affairs.
  • Sixty-nine percent of Americans, including 61% of Democrats, say the increasing number of news sources reporting from a particular point of view is “a major problem.” In contrast, 77% of Republicans say the same.
  • While a majority of Americans across the political spectrum (80%) say the media is under attack politically, they are divided as to whether those attacks are merited. Whereas 70% of Democrats say the media is under attack and those attacks are not justified, 61% of
  • Republicans say such attacks are justified.
  • In addition to partisan differences in media attitudes, views also vary by age, with older Americans generally more favorable toward the news media than younger Americans. Whereas 44% of Americans aged 65 and older have “very” or “somewhat” favorable views of the media, less than 1 in 5 Americans under age 30 (19%) say the same.

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