For people who don’t trust single TV news sources (or, better yet, those who get some news from outside the U.S.), it’s probably no surprise that people recognize biases. Perhaps one of the greatest offenders is Fox News, but that organization is certainly not alone. From overly-sensationalized news stories to clearly partial politically-biased reporting, Americans rarely get a clear picture of what’s really important.
Pew Research’s recent findings are reported in Internet News Audience Highly Critical of News Organizations (the full report is available from People-Press). An excerpt:
However, those who cite the Fox News Channel as their primary source of news stand out among the TV news audience for their negative evaluations of news organizations’ practices. Fully 63% of Americans who count Fox as their main news source say news stories are often inaccurate – a view held by fewer than half of those who cite CNN (46%) or network news (41%) as their main source.
While I agree with the fact that Fox News often reports inaccurate (at best) content, I have to wonder: How could these people also claim it’s their primary news source? Most TV’s have a convenient option for changing the channel. And, there’s are dozens of more reputable web sites for getting facts.
My theory is that people like bigoted and partial news reporting. It helps them effectively tune out in a sea of sound bites and manufactured controversy. Why do anything about global warming when mainstream U.S. media claims it’s all a hoax? And, why bother thinking at all when you can watch people yelling at each other on the TV? I hope Americans realize that they can have a positive impact on this problem by just choosing to tune out (or to choose their news sources more wisely). Short of that, I think we’ll continue this guilty obsession with inaccurate reporting. Is there another solution?