25 September 2009

Are the News Media Trustworthy?

The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press has released what can only be viewed by journalists as a depressing survey of the U.S. public’s assessment of the accuracy of news stories. The Pew Center, an independent, non-partisan public opinion research organization, says that assessment is now at its lowest level in the more than two decades of surveys.

The Pew study finds that only 29 percent of Americans now believe that U.S. news media get the facts straight. In 1985, when the first such survey was conducted, 55 percent said they felt news stories were generally accurate.

The study goes on to report that a majority of those surveyed believe news organizations are politically biased. Other evaluations in the study are also at all-time lows.

Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, believes the results of the survey have been skewered by the surge in Internet and other outlets that substitute opinion for fact:

“The great flood that goes under the heading `news media' has been poisoned by junk blogs, gossip sheets, shout radio and cable-TV partisans that don't deserve to be trusted.”

Here’s another similar observation:

"I am concerned that if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding."

You might be surprised to learn that comment was not made by a top editor like Bill Keller, but by President Barack Obama in a discussion this month with reporters from two American newspapers, the Toledo Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

We at VOA share the concern over the proliferation of opinion and argument in place of hard news reporting. Just consider the role of state-controlled or state-run media in many parts of the world: in our view, they do nothing to promote understanding either, existing only to promote support for a ruling government or party and to actually prevent alternative views -- or even the facts -- from being heard.

This is why we at Voice of America remain committed to straight reporting and fact-based analysis of news events as well as sharing responsible points of view on critical issues. It is why we have often made the case in speaking appearances that VOA is one of the last bastions of what we might call “pure journalism,” unadulterated by opinion or driven by political motives.

There is evidence that our audiences -- unlike those Americans surveyed in the Pew study -- believe VOA does get the facts straight. Two recent independent research surveys give VOA services high marks for trustworthiness. One survey conducted in Indonesia puts the trustworthiness rating at 94 percent. The other, carried out in Albania, puts the level of trust in VOA’s main news show, Ditari, at an extraordinary 99 percent.

High marks like those give us confidence that we are doing the right thing.


Anonymous said...

It is not whether it is trustworthy or not. Rather, it is one sided, depending on who it supports. If it is given much more time to air its' views, then a larger audience will get hear their opinions and tend to forget there are other opinions from other people. Critical thinking is called for.

Anonymous said...

I dont care if news is slanted right or left, they are both controlled. Thats the problem. There is no right or left, its a sham (left right paradigm). Both the slanted right news and slanted left news refuse to cover things that will hurt the agenda of the elite, who happen to own or sponsor the news anyway.

Anonymous said...

News papers such as the New York Times and others have admitted to withholding news, in order to complete a certain agenda. They have been thanked by Warburgers and Rockefellars for this(can find the quotes very easily). There is no news, only propoganda.

frankCC said...

--------I did not vote for Barack Obama; but then, choice of the two contenders in the 2008 presidential election were not equal to the abilities and attributes to be evident or expected in a new Commander-in-Chief. Thus, now in office soon at one year, Mr. Obama's vacillating on various important issues may be an extension of Obama's attitude with comments to foreign nations in disfavor of this United States ; and thus his imitation concern for our America's news direction.



Anonymous said...

my name is Ahmad Maiwand rashed i left my comment from Afghanistan i appreciate the VOA news and other joyful program wich in VOA

Maiwand rashed