Americans’ Trust Of News Media At New Low

    September 14, 2009

Americans’ perception of the accuracy of news stories is now at its lowest level in more than two decades, according to a new report from Pew Research.

Just 29 percent of Americans say that news organizations generally get the facts right, while 63 percent say that news stories are often inaccurate. In the initial survey by Pew about the news media performance in 1985, 55 percent said news stories were accurate while 34 percent said they were inaccurate.

Fewer See Accuracy, Fairness in Press

In addition, only 26 percent now say that news organizations are careful that their reporting is not politically biased, compared with 60 percent who say news organizations are politically biased.

Pew found that television remains the dominant news source for the public, with 71 percent saying they get most of their national and international news from TV, while 42 say they get most of their news on these subjects from the Internet, compared with 33 percent who cite newspapers.

However, online news lags behind newspapers as a source for news about local issues with 41 percent citing newspapers compared to 17 percent who rely on the Internet for their local news.

Origins of your National and International News

The majority (82%) of Americans say that if all local television news programs went off the air and shut down their websites it would be an important loss. About three-quarters say the same about the network evening news and cable news networks. Slightly fewer people (68%) say that it would be a major loss if large national newspapers were to stop publishing and go offline.