Friday, July 12, 2013

Only 28% of Americans Think Journalists Contribute A Lot to Society's Well-Being

Americans' view of the value that journalists bring to society has sunk to a new low.  Slightly more than 1/4th of Americans think journalists contribute significantly to society's well being. The significant drop in esteem for journalists in the last four years cuts across party lines. 

From The Pew Forum:
The decline in public views about journalists’ contribution to society since 2009 is more pronounced among women than men. Roughly three-in-ten women (29%) say journalists contribute a lot to society’s well-being, down 17 percentage points from 46% in 2009. Men’s views on this are about the same today as they were in 2009.

The decline in the perceived contribution of journalists cuts across partisan leanings, age and education level. Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents as well as Republicans and Republican-leaning independents all are less likely to say journalists contribute a lot to society’s well-being today (down 8 points among Republicans/leaning Republicans and 10 points among Democrats/leaning Democrats).
Though journalists were viewed most favorably by Democrats (36%) there was still a drop of 10% favorability from 2009 (46%).  It seems that the public at large has noticed the lack of journalistic competence and contribution during the Obama administration years.  Every segment of society now sees the contribution by journalists to society's well-being as minimal.

It's not just the digital age that is hurting print journalism.  The incompetence and bias of journalists keeps them from turning out a product of significant worth to society.

I'm reminded of a poll conducted September 8, 2008, in which Rasmussen found that "46% of voters say they most trust information about the presidential campaign from family and friends as opposed to 32% who trust the information from news reporters more."

If family and friends (amateurs) do better at giving good information than the professional information gatherers, the problem is at crisis stage.  Think of what it would say about the competence of the medical community if 46% of Americans trusted medical advice from family and friends over medical advice from doctors and only 32% trusted their doctor's advice more.


MAX Redline said...

In the immortal words of former plagiarist/columnist Jonathan Nicholas of The Oregonian:

Asked why he went into journalism, he replied, "Because I wanted to make a difference."

Facts didn't matter to him; feelings did. They suspended him for a couple of weeks after it emerged that he'd plagiarized a couple of columns, then he went back to writing for them. A few years later, they promoted him. Then they got rid of him.

T. D. said...

It's another example of if you focus on something other than your primary task, you will fail at both the secondary thing as well as your primary task.

"Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original; whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."

C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, "Beyond Personality: Ch. 11 The New Men"