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Guess Americans don’t believe everything they read. A new Gallup poll says 6 in 10 Americans have little or no trust in mass media to report fully, fairly and accurately — the highest level of mistrust the poll has ever recorded.
Democrats are the most trustful of mass media, at 58 percent, followed by independents at 31 percent and Republicans at 26 percent.
But despite their mistrust, GOPers are the most likely to keep close tabs on national political news. Forty-eight percent of Republicans said they follow political coverage “very closely,” versus independents at 33 percent and Democrats at 39 percent.
Americans’ Confidence in Television News
Gallup has a new poll showing that American’s confidence in television news is at an all time low. However, they can’t quite put their finger on why that might be so:
It is not clear precisely why Americans soured so much on television news this year compared with last. Americans’ negativity likely reflects the continuation of a broader trend that appeared to enjoy only a brief respite last year. Americans have grown more negative about the media in recent years, as they have about many other U.S. institutions and the direction of the country in general.
FJP — We’ll hazard a guess: US television news is positively craptastic.
Tweeting and social networking are letting a hundred thousand press barons bloom without any accountability. And this mass mediatocracy reveals the universal trait behind all penmanship, virtual or otherwise: the desire for Klout. The fact that Knoller’s power was checked by Twitter because he was a journalist just did the mediaverse a huge favor: it reminded everyone that the freedom of the press requires accountability — and accountability demands a separation of the professional journalist from the personal, peeved tweeter.
Angelina Jolie only looks maybe 20% crazier when Bachmann-eyezd.
Republicans frequently complain that news reporters are cheerleaders for President Obama. But a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism says it’s Obama who “has suffered the most unrelentingly negative treatment” of all the presidential candidates over the past five months. Pew found that only 9 percent of news stories about Obama were “positive” during that period. On the GOP side, Texas Gov. Rick Perry got the best treatment, with 32 percent positive coverage. Has the press soured on Obama?
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
Five days without email was like a quick stint in outpatient rehab. I went through some strange withdrawals and came out a little better, if not recharged. But, hell, who am I kidding? When I went back to work the following Monday, I made sure my iPhone was fully charged, just in case I needed to check my email while I was waiting in line for a sandwich. When I did, I had a dull email notifying me that someone I didn’t like in high school wanted to be friends on Facebook. No slot-machine sensation. You can only bet against the house and win so many times.
Where do you get your news? Growing up, I watched both my siblings reach a phase where they realized that the major news resources are heavily biased, so they jumped to the independent, conspiracy-theory-laden end of the spectrum and started eating it up just because it was different. As a result, I checked out altogether. I figured all news is biased, so why bother?
I know I’m not exactly helping the situation by asking someone else to spoon-feed me a news source I can trust, but I’m 22, and I’m tired of feeling sheltered and stupid. I don’t want to be willfully ignorant, but I know I’m naive and don’t have the critical thinking skills or instincts to know when a reporter is full of crap. I’m afraid that I’m the type to mindlessly buy whatever I’m told. How do I get my head out of my behind?
Congratulations. The very fact that you’re tired of feeling sheltered and stupid means you’ve already pulled your head out of your behind. The real trick now is to make sure you don’t shove it up someone else’s by blindly trusting any spoon-fed news source.
Instead, you have to start trusting your own capacity for rational thought. Learn how to analyze the media. Ask questions. Challenge assumptions. Check sources. Most importantly, don’t get distracted by a little bias. Media bias is harmless when you can spot it, so quit whining about your naïveté and sharpen those critical thinking skills.
If you need a jumping-off point for becoming an independent thinker in the face of mass media, go pick up copies of “Manufacturing Consent” by Noam Chomsky, “Understanding Media” by Marshall McLuhan and “Letters to a Young Contrarian” by Christopher Hitchens.
Read them, reread them and then read them again. They may frustrate you at first, but don’t give up. Every time you hit an unfamiliar reference, light up Google and learn something. Remember, it’s not about what to think. It’s about a way to think.
I promise, you are capable of clear and independent thought. You don’t need to be spoon-fed anything. Once you trust in your own ability to analyze the media, you will be able to consume any source of news, chew it up, and spit out all the bias and bull.
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