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Studies & Research

America’s Trust in Mass Media Declining Again

After a small uptick in recent years, America’s trust in media is declining again, according to a new Gallup poll.

Out of the over 1,000 people surveyed, 40% trust the mass media, a four-percentage-point drop from last year.

Gallup

On the political end, the poll found a 14-year low among Democrats in terms of trusting the media. A large percentage continue to believe the news media is too liberal (44%) but the opposite viewpoint is gathering steam. 19% of Americans think the media is too conservative; a six-point spike from last year and the highest percentage in that category in eight years.

Do you agree with the poll’s findings? Comment below.

(Poll image courtesy of Gallup)

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How Ferguson Story Played Out on Twitter and Cable News

A new Pew Research Center study of the coverage immediately following the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson shows Twitter initially spotlighted the story with cable news soon following.

Pew found Twitter conversation started the day of Brown’s shooting on Saturday, August 9, with over 146,000 tweets posted. Cable news coverage began the next day. Examining primetime coverage during the first week following the shooting, MSNBC led the way, followed by CNN and Fox News. President Obama’s first statement on the shooting on August 14 marked the biggest day of attention on both cable news and Twitter with 296 combined minutes of primetime coverage between the three networks and over 3.6 million tweets penned.

Ferguson Coverage

White, Male Guests Dominate Cable News

A new survey by Fair finds cable news guests are overwhelmingly white and male in the evening hours. Fair surveyed six cable news shows — “The O’Reilly Factor” and “Hannity” on Fox News, “All In with Chris Hayes” and “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC and “OutFront with Erin Burnett” and “Anderson Cooper 360″ on CNN — over five weeks for the study.

Of the 1,015 guests that appeared across the shows in the survey period, 84 percent were white and 72 percent were male. The most diverse show in terms of ethnicity was “All In,” while “The O’Reilly Factor” was the most diverse in terms of gender.

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Political Journos Repeat Claims Rather Than Check Facts

TwitterCongressA new International Journal of Press/Politics study finds that during the 2012 presidential campaign, political journalists opted to repeat presidential candidates’ claims rather than challenge them.

The Poynter Institute reports on the findings today, which combed through 430 journalists’ tweets during presidential debates, examining whether they merely repeated candidates’ claims or fact-checked them.

They found that 60 percent of the journalist tweets “reflected traditional practices of ‘professional’ objectivity: stenography—simply passing along a claim made by a politician—and ‘he said, she said’ repetition of a politician’s claims and his opponent’s counterclaim. Journalists largely repeated the claims and statement of candidates, rather that check or challenge them. In the end, 15 percent of the tweets reflected the traditional fact-checking approach. These tweets saw journalists “referencing evidence for or against the claim and, in a few cases, rendering an explicit judgment about the validity of the claim. The data showed that checking was done more frequently by those in the data set who identified themselves as commentators rather than reporters. This again suggests that traditional notions of objectivity may be a factor.”

Last year, we spoke with ABC’s Jonathan Karl about leveraging social media in his reporting. “You gotta use it, but you gotta use it in doses,” he said. Watch the video after the jump.

Read more

Confidence in Television News Dips to New Low

The percentage of Americans who have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the news media is at a record low, according to a new Gallup poll. Confidence in television news is at an all-time low of only 18%, lower than both newspapers (22%) and Internet news (19%).

Gallup Confidence in News Media

The study breaks down confidence level by ideology, finding 21% of moderates, 19% of conservatives and 15% of liberals expressed confidence in television news. For liberals, Gallup’s number dropped 11% from last year (the chart is after the jump).  Read more

Fox News’ Conservative Audience is More Loyal Than MSNBC’s Liberal Audience

Pew is out with a new study today about political polarization in the U.S. “Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines than at any point in the last two decades,” the study’s authors write. The findings, based on a survey of 10,000 adults nationwide, extend to media, specifically two cable news networks which program to ideologically different audiences.

Not surprisingly, of those who identify as “consistently liberal,” 73% find Fox News unfavorable. Of those who identify as “consistently conservative,” 71% find MSNBC unfavorable.

A couple of the more interesting discoveries: among the “mostly liberal” camp, a higher percentage (33%) find Fox News favorable, while a smaller percentage (32%) find it unfavorable. (ie. liberals will watch Bill O’Reilly so they can disagree with him). Additionally, MSNBC does not draw the same positive reviews from “consistent liberals” that Fox News does from “consistent conservatives.” (MSNBC’s viewers overall are “meh”.)

PewPolarization

Survey: Jon Stewart More Trusted Than MSNBC

cable news logos_304x200A new Brookings Institute survey on immigration and overall trust in TV news had positive findings for Fox News, and less than gratifying recognition for MSNBC.

On which TV news source was trusted most to “provide accurate information about politics and current events,” Fox News ranked number one, with 25% selecting FNC. Of those who selected Fox, 53% identified as Republicans while 6% were Democrats.

Broadcast news came in as the second most trusted source at 23%. Next was CNN, with 17% choosing the original 24/7 cable news network; of that total, 26% identified as Democrats while 9% were Republicans.

The survey probably won’t have MSNBC laughing: “Daily Show with Jon Stewart” rounded out the top five, with 8% choosing the satirist as their most trusted source; MSNBC came in sixth with 5%. For MSNBC’s total, 10% identified as Democrats while 1% were Republicans.

Comcast, Time Warner Cable Have Most Dissatisfied Customers

ComcastTWCAs Comcast and Time Warner Cable wade through the regulatory waters on their way to a merger, a new customer satisfaction survey shows the two companies have the most dissatisfied customers among subscription TV and ISP services. The American Customer Satisfaction Index found Comcast customers give it a 60 out of 100, down -5% from last year, while Time Warner Cable is even worse: sitting at 56, its lowest score to date, and down -7%.

“It’s a concern whenever two poor-performing service providers combine operations,” says David VanAmburg, ACSI Director. “ACSI data consistently show that mergers in service industries usually result in lower customer satisfaction, at least in the short term. It’s hard to see how combining two negatives will be a positive for consumers.”

AT&T and DirecTV both sit at 69 on the index. On Sunday, AT&T announced it is acquiring DirecTV. Among others: Verizon FiOS is at 68 and DISH Network is at 67. DISH may be the lowest-scoring satellite TV company, but it is better than the top-scoring cable company: Cox Communications which is at 63, down -3% from last year.

Viewership May Be Up, But CNN’s Brand Perception Is Down

CNN’s brand perception has weakened in the first months of 2014, dropping two points in the last month, according to new research by YouGov BrandIndex, a daily consumer perception service.

The report, comprised of 35,000 interviews, finds that CNN and HLN were at, or close to, one-year highs in perception at the end of 2013, but have declined in the first few months of this year. CNN started aggressively covering the missing Malaysian airliner after it went missing March 8 and has only slowed somewhat.

The report measures consumer perception using a buzz score, which ranges from 100 to -100. At the beginning of this year, CNN was at a -4, but has slid to -8 in the report. It also found MSNBC has been consistent at -10 throughout the year, while Fox News was the only cable news network with a positive buzz score, hovering between 4 and 6.

CNN Brand

Pew Report: Fox News Leads Cable News Channels in News Investment

Among the interesting tidbits from this year’s Pew Research Center State of the News Media report is a graph on cable news channel spending. In 2013, Fox News had an estimated total news investment of $848 million, compared to CNN’s $757 million and MSNBC’s $272 million.

pew research cable news channel spendingAs we told you yesterday, Fox News overtook CNN in revenue in 2008. According to this chart, 2009 was the first year Fox News started investing more than CNN in the news product. Fox News has outspent CNN every year since.

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