Following along with yesterday’s blog, a survey conducted by the University of Missouri’s Reynolds Journalism Institute has been released with somewhat interesting results. This survey was based on the proportion of “trusted” vs. “not trusted” responses to the names of various sources. The survey was taken of 8,728 consumers ‘of online content’ produced by 28 media organizations and are said to have leaned toward the liberal side of the political spectrum.
The ten least trusted in ascending order were: Occupy Democrats, Buzzfeed, Breitbart, Social Media, Trump, Infowars, Yahoo, the Internet, Huffington Post, and Blaze.
The ten most trusted in descending order were: The Economist, Public Television, Reuters, BBC, NPR, PBS, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, and Dallas Morning News. Interestingly enough, Americans seem to think more highly of British media than our own; maybe that is simply because those publications seem more stilted/official in terms of their style.
It was interesting to me that this survey admittedly skewed liberal; at least we were told that up front. Maybe it is simply not possible to get half conservatives in the typical mix of respondents. All too often we are flying blind in terms of biases. I tend to assume that there is a more decided liberal bias in virtually everything published as ‘news’ with rare exception.
The remaining least trusted outlets in ascending order to the midpoint were Fox, Limbaugh, ABC, MSNBC, Drudge Report, NBC, CNN, and CBS.
The remaining most trusted outlets (50% or higher) in descending order to the midpoint were Local news, Politico, Associated Press, Denver Post, Washington Post, Time, Seattle Times, Kansas City Star, New York Times, USA Today and Atlantic.
Among the most concerning things to me in this realm of “news” organizations is that some amount of us is unaware of the manner in which we can be fed information slanted to one side or the other of the political spectrum. Those people who do not see self as either liberal or conservative and there are a bunch in that group, make voting decisions based on who promises what and the believability factor they assign to each set of promises.
Liberal politicians are more often those that ‘play’ the voters with this or that promise designed simply to gather votes rather than to tell people what they really stand for and what they will really do once in office. Bernie Sanders comes as close as anyone on that side of politics, to be honest as to his intentions. Hillary Clinton was at the other extreme from Sanders; she obfuscated so as to avoid turning anyone off even if she left the wrong impression as to what she was all about. Truth be damned; it’s the votes that count.
So, we have liberals and conservatives and the squishy center comprised of the people who say one thing and intend to do another. I suspect that the average American voter does not think about candidates in this manner. He or she is attracted to something one candidate does or says or seems to support, and that makes his or her decision easy. Except, liberals tend to forget what they promised and fall into lockstep with their party leaders.
Conservatives, on the other hand, tend to be deeper thinkers and they are significantly more difficult to be convinced by efforts of caucus leaders to control them and their vote. Thus, the occasional situation where a vote is cast out of the blue by one or another ‘maverick’ conservative. That fairly well sums up the current Congress so far as Republicans are concerned. TheDems fall into lockstep far more easily than do the Republicans.
The bottom line is that we need to be aware of the slant of what we’re consuming as news, and that is not at all easy. The media outlets, with rare exception, are not anxious to bill themselves as either liberal or conservative believing they’ll hurt their ‘numbers’ if they are honest.