The United States is unique in the sense that on both sides of the political spectrum, voters believe the media does a poor job reporting political issues in a fair way, according to huge new survey of media consumption in 38 nations.
The Pew Research Center’s study found moreover that supporters of President Trump believe the media is doing a worse job than the supporters of any of the other international political figures in countries surveyed.
It may not come as a surprise since US politics are divisive as ever.
“Large gaps in ratings of the media emerge between governing party supporters and non-supporters. On the question of whether their news media cover political issues fairly, for example, partisan differences appear in 20 of the 38 countries surveyed. In five countries, the gap is at least 20 percentage points, with the largest by far in the US at 34 percentage points,” Pew noted.
Most in the US would agree that the top five media organisastions based in the US are CNN, Fox, MSNBC, ABC News, and CBS. According to Media Bias/Fact Check, 2 of these websites, CNN and MSNBC, have a left-wing bias, ABC and CBS have a center-left bias, and Fox has a right-wing bias. Thus, the five major US sources are showing a definite right or left bias.
The survey found that only 21 percent of Americans supportive of Trump and Republicans believe the media is reporting fairly. But it also found that only 55 percent of those who that voted against Trump also believe the media is biased in their reporting on US politics.
In every other case, those numbers are reversed, Pew said.
“The US is also one of only a few countries where governing party supporters are less satisfied with their news media than are non-supporters. In most countries, people who support the political party currently in power are more satisfied with the performance of their news media than those who do not support the governing party,” the study revealed.
Some 2 in 3 American adults say fabricated news stories cause a great deal of confusion about the basic facts of current affairs, according to Pew. The survey found that Republicans and Democrats are about equally likely to say that “fake news” leaves Americans deeply confused about current events.
Despite the concern, more than 8 in 10 feel very or somewhat confident that they are able to recognise news that is fabricated, the survey found.
Two-thirds of Americans get at least some of their news from social media, Pew found.
“I think part of the problem is that now people are getting too much information and it confuses them and they don’t know how to decipher the true and the fake,” Washington-insider Trent Lott, told Dayton Daily News. He says he sees bias in the coverage of Washington by the mainstream media.
There’s been little love for the media for decades in the US. The percentage expressing a great deal of confidence in the press has eroded from a high of 28 percent in 1976 to just 8 percent in 2016, according the General Social Survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago.
“Trump didn’t invent this. He didn’t cause people to start feeling this way. He’s tapping into a vein that already existed,” said Gary Abernathy, publisher and editor of the Times-Gazette of Hillsboro, Ohio. He added, “They are nodding their heads right away because that’s how they’ve felt.”