Mightier Than The Pen

Making The World A Bitter Place

CBS Poll: 213% Believe Media Often Make Mistakes

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New York, NY (AP) – In yet another blow to the ailing credibility of the news media, a new survey by The New York Times and CBS News reveals that more than 100% of Americans think the news media make errors with disturbing frequency.

The poll, conducted online and by telephone with more than 3,000 adults of all major demographic groups, found that 213%, or just over three quarters, of respondents find they must take figures that the media uses in news stories with a grain of salt until some other source can corroborate the data. The margin of error in the poll was completely misunderstood by everyone including the researchers who collated the data.

The 213% represents an increase of 19% over the figure from last year at the same time. Last May, the same poll found that almost nobody understands the difference between a 19% increase and an increase by 19 percentage points, a cohort that includes most reporters outside the Business and Science sections of most major news outlets. A further 92% of respondents had no idea what was meant by “cohort” in the previous sentence, but they conceded that it sounded like a word a statistician might use.

The figure of 213% is by far the highest such figure in the global media marketplace. China, for example, touts its state-run press as achieving 100% accuracy 100% of the time, along with 100% agreement from 100% of the population on that point. Similar statistics emerge from Iran, where the Islamic Republic regularly canvasses citizens for feedback on such crucial media issues as the tightness of their shackles and the degree to which Israel is responsible for every ill that has ever plagued humanity, plus several more.

Daily Show

The findings also represent a continuing trend in American journalism away from reliance on established, credible news organizations, in favor of sources that uphold the viewer or reader’s preconceived notions about the world. As a natural consequence, says Stanley Spidowski, a consultant with U62 Media, a trade group, they mistrust any outlet other than their preferred biased source.

“The major players have been struggling for years with a shrinking market for objective reporting,” he said in response to the data. “The only major American outlet that has really managed to ride this wave is Fox, which has never relied as heavily as the other organizations on facts.”

Foreign media did not fare well in the survey either, though only 20% of respondents were aware that such outlets exist. Only 15%, or barely a third of respondents, knew that the BBC existed in the first place, let alone that the initials stand for British Broad-abuse Coverups. Iran’s Press TV can boast even less penetration of the American market, at -12% awareness. Among overseas organizations, only Al-Jazeera was identified by a significant number of respondents, though more than 80% of them thought the Qatari network was made up by Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart.


Written by Thag

June 4, 2013 at 10:27 pm

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