Friday, June 03, 2005

Public & Press Differ On Coverage

Here is a good source survey from the University of Pennsylvania for the folks over at the Lee owned Post Dispatch, and the rest of the media for that matter

Media Survey

Its something that they should read and give some serious and insightful thought to.
It tells how out of balance their view of themselves are compared to the public's view.

An item that caught my eye was this:

But when asked what led CBS News to run that story, 40 percent of the public said a major reason was CBS News and Dan Rather are liberals who dislike President Bush. Only 10 percent of journalists agreed. The journalists attributed the decision to run the story heavily to CBS's belief in its accuracy (76 percent) and to its being in too much of a rush (73 percent).

Only fellow journalists could line up in the 70% range saying Rather is not biased and did not run the Bush story because of his liberal bias and hope to effect the election.

Heres another one:

Eighty-six percent of journalists but only 45 percent of the public said news organizations generally get their facts straight. But 48 percent of the public and only 11 percent of journalists said news organizations were often inaccurate. When serious mistakes are made, 74 percent of the journalists said news organizations quickly report the error, but only 30 percent of the public said they do. In the public, 24 percent said news organizations try to ignore errors and 41 percent said they try to cover them up.

Inaccurate but accurate I think might play some role here, how about you?

And politically where does the MSM define themselves

Some of these and other differences appeared to reflect the fact that the media sample, with a median experience level of 23 years, is distinctly more liberal than the public in general, measured by a separate poll of 1,500 adults. Thirty-one percent of those in the journalists’ sample called themselves liberal, 49 percent said they were moderates and just nine percent said they were conservatives. In the public generally, 24 percent said they were liberal, 33 percent moderate and 38 percent conservative.

This probably shows the disconnect best, with 49% claiming to be moderate. They maybe right of Krugman, but that just makes you a mainstream liberal not moderate.

I think co-author of the Oxford Press Geneva Overhosler summed it up accurately when she said this:

"This study reveals a worrisome divide between the public's view of journalism and journalists' own views of their work. If journalists do indeed believe that what they do is valuable, fair and ethically sound, it's past time they began to put that case more effectively to the public."

And Overhosler's co-author Kathleen hall Jamieson, finishes the summary off nicely with this:

The public perception that journalism is often inaccurate should raise alarm in the journalistic community. Confidence in the press is built on the belief that fact is reliably reported.The public belief that when reporters get the facts wrong they fail to quickly report the error invites editors to ask what accounts not only for that perception but for the discrepancy between their confidence in the correction process and the publics doubts.

One would think...............................