Back in April we witnessed the media during one of its worst times when, right after the Boston Marathon bombings, we saw headlines on April 17 like, “Official: Suspect in Custody in Boston Bombings” and “Suspect Nabbed in Boston Marathon Bombing.”
Neither headline was true. In the rush to be first, they failed in one major area: Being accurate. The suspect was actually “nabbed” two days later.
Now we find a new poll from Gallup telling us “Americans’ confidence in newspapers fell slightly to 23% this year.” Confidence peaked for newspapers back in 1979 at 51%.
If you believe in television news, guess what – the confidence in television news is also sitting at 23%. It peaked at 46% back in 1993, according to Gallup.
So, as Gallup puts it, “Fewer than one in four Americans confident in newspapers, TV news.”
It looks like the days are gone when we can turn on the evening network news and have the feeling that what Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw, and/or Harry Reasoner are reading is true. Today with the 24 hour cable news stations and everyone being a reporter, it’s hard to believe what we read the first time is accurate. I don’t believe someone is dead until I hear or read it from at least three separate sources. The first reports of the number of deaths right after shootings or accidents are almost always 100% wrong.
Newspapers have jumped into the instant news mode, too. They are attempting to compete with the cable news folks. They used to have a few hours to “get it right” before it was printed, but now they need to get the story on the website quickly to be first – and to compete.
The competition stretches from cable news stations and the network news stations to the nation’s major newspapers all the way down to the small market news stations and the local daily newspapers.
It’s actually fun to watch the local rivalries in the media. The competition can even get a little ferocious in Big Sky Country between the television stations, the newspapers, and even some bloggers. It’s even gotten to the point that some are now pointing out mistakes by their competition. There’s only so much pie to slice – and those slices are valuable even in the smallest markets.
The Gallup poll also found, “Confidence in newspapers by party mirrors the ideological findings. Democrats are most confident, at 33%, while independents are less so, at 19%, and Republicans, at 16%, are least confident.” As for television news, “Democrats (34%) express more confidence in television news than do independents (17%) and Republicans (18%).”
And here I thought Republicans had 100% confidence in FOX News…
I use Twitter for my news feed. That’s where I (and millions of others) get news, sports, and weather. I follow many news organizations (even the local ones) and if I need more than the Twitter’s 140 characters, I click on the link to the website.
Now, if I only had more confidence that what I clicked on was accurate…
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