25 September 2009

Who Elected This President?

It turns out, the American media may have played a part in electing Barack Obama as President of the United States. A new national poll conducted by Sacred Heart University has been released on "Trust and Satisfaction with the National News Media." It's posted here and shows that 89.3% of those surveyed believe that the national media played a "very strong or somewhat strong role" in helping elect President Obama.

The University's Polling Institute surveyed 800 Americans nationwide between Sept. 8-11, and covered news subjects from 2003 and 2007. The poll is the third of its kind, and reveals current American attitudes on the fairness, reliability, and influence of news media.

This can not be news to those of us who actually work in the national media. We were there. If we are honest, we acknowledge our part in it. He was younger, sexier (it's a TV term, folks) and we wanted to do stories about the popular team.

So what are we doing now? We apparently haven't stopped.

Sixty-nine percent of those surveyed said the national news media are intent on promoting the Obama presidency. Only 26.5% disagreed and said something to the effect of "oh, those news media people aren't doing that!"

Yeah. Right. I don't often say "perception is reality" but have you ever seen an industry where that particular statement seemed more appropo?

But here's the part that ought to scare the folks at the top of four (maybe more?) very big news organizations: when asked which news source they trusted the most, the highest percentage of respondents chose Fox News. Oh, now don't get your shorts in a wad. Fox only rated a 30% share.

And oddly enough, when asked who they trusted the least, the same group (but presumably a different section) also chose Fox News.

About a quarter of those surveyed (24.3%) said they believe all or most of what is reported, 54% believe some, and 20.4% believe little or none.

"It is sad, when we find that only 55.9% say they expect the media to tell them the truth today. This perception of bias will eventually catch up with the news media outlets - we found 45.9% have permanently stopped watching a news media organization, print or electronic, because of perceived bias." Jerry C. Lindsley, director of the Sacred Heart University Polling Institute

Catch up with news media outlets? Like as in falling ratings? Dropping ad revenues? Fewer advertisements? Less attention to every little thing that we say?

Hmmmm, you think?

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