Survey Finds Huge Gap Between Press and Public on Many Issues
The general public is less interested in news and holds a lower opinion of the press than professional journalists. These are among the shocking findings of a new survey.
New Survey Finds Huge Gap Between Press and Public on Many Issues (Editor & Publisher)
A survey to be released Monday reveals a wide gap on many media issues between a group of journalists and the general public. In one finding, 43% of the public says the press has too much freedom, while only 3% of journalists agree. And just 14% of the public can name “freedom of the press” as a guarantee in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in the major poll conducted by the University of Connecticut Department of Public Policy.
The public is not very educated on media matters and finds the press annoying. Journalists, not so much.
Six in ten among the public feel the media show bias in reporting the news, and 22% say the government should be allowed to censor the press. More than 7 in 10 journalists believe the media does a good or excellent job on accuracy — but only 4 in 10 among the public feel that way. And a solid 53% of the public thinks stories with unnamed sources should not be published at all.
The public is right and journalists are deluding themselves. But the survey results would likely be similar if other professions were the subject of the survey.
Perhaps the widest gap of all: 8 in 10 journalists said they read blogs, while less than 1 in 10 others do so. Still, a majority of the news pros do not believe bloggers deserve to be called journalists.
The first just means journalists are news junkies whereas most people aren’t. The second is mostly professional bias but perhaps also reflects the fact that the vast preponderance of blogs are not very good.
Asked who they voted for in the past election, the journalists reported picking Kerry over Bush by 68% to 25%. In this sample of 300 journalists, from both newspapers and TV, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 3 to 1 — but about half claim to be Independent. As in previous polls, a majority (53%) called their political orientation “moderate,” versus 28% liberal and 10% conservative.
Hardly surprising, since survey after survey shows that the press votes Democrat far, far more than the general population. But, of course, they’re not biased.