Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pew Research Center report reveals 'broad-based declines' in the believability ratings for news organizations

A new report issued by the Pew Research Center claims that the "believability ratings for major news organizations have suffered broad-based declines."
PhotobucketFew news organizations came out looking good in the Pew report, though Gannett's USA Today and Fox News were at the bottom when it came to the public's belief that the news organizations produce believable reporting.

According to the report, Republicans, in particular, do not believe the news media, giving only Fox News and local TV news positive ratings. Not surprisingly, those who identified themselves as Democrats were not too keen on Fox News.

Although major news brands did not fare well in the report, the fact is that it is the media as a whole that showed declines.

But I'd like to propose something here: the two news organizations sited that showed the smallest declines in believability were "daily paper you know best" and "local TV news". These two nonspecific media brands share one thing in common: they are the two brands that the respondent is most familiar with. In other words, one may not have a positive impression of a newspaper or cable TV outlet, but there is also no reason to thing the respondent is a regular consumer of those brands.

Like the voter who says "vote the bums out" but then says that their own representative is OK, it may be that the Pew study is showing a growing distain for the news media overall, but it also may be showing that consumers are less likely to be reading or viewing much of the traditional media brands – but still look positively on those brands that they are still using.

In other words, the Pew study may be showing a growing side effect of the declining circulation of many major newspapers and the declining ratings of many cable new channels.