Media Fail: 70% Believe News Reporting Intentionally Biased

A new survey by USA Today and the First Amendment Center found that Americans' distrust of the news media has skyrocketed over the last year, the number of American adults believing news reporting is biased jumping up to 70 percent, while less than a quarter now say they trust the news media. 

The 2015 State of the First Amendment Survey released Friday found that only 24 percent of American adults believe that "overall, the news media tries to report the news without bias," a 17-point drop from last year and the lowest number since the poll began in 2004. More than two-thirds, 70 percent, disagreed with that statement, a 15-point increase since last year.

The study suggests that the plummeting trust in the media was impacted by the bias scandals surrounding two of America's most prominent new anchors, ABC's George Stephanopoulos and NBC's Brian Williams. Also likely playing a role in the growing distrust of the public is the irresponsible and misleading reporting of the Michael Brown case and the Ferguson and Baltimore protests and riots.

As for public opinion on the First Amendment: 75 percent of American adults rejected the idea that the First Amendment "goes too far in the rights it guarantees," an 18-point gain since last year. Only 19 percent said it offers too much protection, a 19-point drop since 2014.

Other notable findings: Fewer people now believe that wedding service providers should be forced to cater same-sex weddings (38%, dropping from 52% in 2013). A strong majority, 60 percent, say they support cartoonists being able to publish images of Mohammad, while 32 percent said images should be banned. 

A few other highlights from the survey

*Christian nation: A slight majority, 51%, believes the U.S. Constitution establishes a Christian nation, largely unchanged since the question was first asked in the 2007 poll. The belief is more prevalent among older respondents, 54%, than younger people, 37%.

*Recording police: Eighty-eight% of Americans say they support allowing people to record the activities of the police as long as they do not interfere with police actions.

*Confederate flag: About a third, 35%, agrees that the government should be allowed to deny issuing license plates to a group that intends to display a confederate flag on the plates. The majority, 56%, opposes the government's right to deny.

H/t Washington Examiner

Issues

People

Organizations