Monday 14 September 2009

US public says news becoming more biased

The percentage of people in the US who believe news stories are inaccurate and biased continues to grow, Editor & Publisher reports via the Associated Press.
Nearly two-thirds — 63 percent — of Americans surveyed by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey believe that news stories are often inaccurate. When asked that question in 1985, just 34 percent of respondents believed stories were frequently inaccurate.
Pew also found that 74 percent of respondents believe stories tend to favour one side of an issue over another, up from 66 percent two years ago.
Andrew Kohut, the Pew center's director said:"If people believe that news reports are often biased, they will say they're inaccurate."
The budget squeeze on editorial budgets "means facts don't get checked as carefully as they should," according to Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times. But he still believes many media outlets still go to great lengths to get the facts right and own up to their mistakes when the information is wrong.
"The great flood that goes under the heading `news media' has been poisoned by junk blogs, gossip sheets, shout radio and cable-TV partisans that don't deserve to be trusted," Keller told the Associated Press in an e-mail.
The internet also has made it easier to research information and find errors in news stories, said Kathleen Carroll, the AP's executive editor. And the Web's discussion boards spread word of mistakes when they're found. Carroll said she hopes the increased scrutiny and accountability fostered by the internet will lead to better journalism."We're in the early stages of a changing relationship between news organizations and consumers, who are becoming much more vocal about what they like, what they don't and what they want to know," Carroll wrote in a statement. "It's not always pretty or pleasant, but that engagement can and does help improve coverage."

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