: The latest Pew Research Center survey on the press is out. Kit Seelye’s take from The Times:
The latest survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press has found overwhelming American dissatisfaction with the news media, with a rising number of people saying that the press is “too critical of America.”
And while Democrats have generally been more supportive of the press than Republicans, the survey found a marked increase in the number of Democrats who say reporters are too soft on the Bush administration….
“Republicans increasingly express the view that the press is excessively critical of the United States,” the survey said, with 67 percent agreeing with that statement, compared with 42 percent in July 2002.
About one-quarter of Democrats say the press is too critical, the same level as three years ago.
Any good will that the press earned after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, appears to have eroded.
In November 2001, 69 percent of all respondents said that the press stood up for America. Only 17 percent found it too critical. At the same time, 60 percent said the press did a good job of protecting democracy while only 19 percent said it was hurting democracy.
Now, only 47 percent say the press protects democracy and 33 percent say it hurts.
But the Pew Research report says it’s not all bad:
Yet despite these criticisms, most Americans continue to say that they like mainstream news outlets. By wide margins, more Americans give favorable than unfavorable ratings to their daily newspaper (80%-20%), local TV news (79%-21%), and cable TV news networks (79%-21%), among those able to rate these organizations. The margin is only slightly smaller for network TV news (75%-25%).
In fact, the favorable ratings for most categories of news organizations surpass positive ratings for President Bush and major political institutions ? the Supreme Court, Congress, and the two major political parties.
Now that’s a case of damning with faint praise if I’ve ever heard it….
But here’s the really bad news: The public believes the press less and less:
The gap is most striking between the public’s evaluations of the credibility, and favorability, of their daily newspapers. The percentage saying they can believe most of what they read in their daily newspaper dropped from 84% in 1985 to 54% in 2004. But the number expressing a favorable opinion of their daily newspaper, based on those familiar enough to give a rating, declined just eight points over the same period (from 88% to 80%).
And, not surprisingly, younger Americans are getting more of their news from the internet:
One-in-four (24%) list the internet as a main source of news. Roughly the same number (23%) say they go online for news every day, up from 15% in 2000; the percentage checking the web for news at least once a week has grown from 33% to 44% over the same time period.
While online news consumption is highest among young people (those under age 30), it is not an activity that is limited to the very young. Three-in-ten Americans ages 30-49 cite the internet as a main source of news….
Fully 62% of internet news consumers say they read the websites of local or national newspapers….
People who read the newspaper online have a far less favorable opinion of network and local TV news programming than do people who read the print version, and also have a somewhat less favorable view of the daily newspaper they are most familiar with. But consumers of online newspapers feel far more favorably toward large nationally influential newspapers, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post.
Lots more interesting stats there.