Robert Morris poll finds many believe an agenda shapes news coverage
Nearly three-quarters of Americans think the news media approach stories with a political agenda and try to shape public policies and laws accordingly, a poll finds.
About 27.6 percent of the respondents attributed the perceived bias to the personal politics that journalists bring to the profession, according to the survey by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute, which Trib Total Media sponsors.
Other reasons cited for the perceived bias included a drive for higher ratings (20 percent), an attempt to please advertisers and other business interests (14.8 percent), and a grab for viewers or readers who want news from “like-minded” media (14 percent), the poll found.
Although 45.5 percent of respondents said their favorite news source offers objective reporting, 16.8 percent said they turn to a news source because they think it sees the issues as they do. About 18 percent of Americans named Fox News as their top news source, though 47.8 percent of those polled think the network is biased.
“The connection between a perceived liberal bias and the corresponding support for Fox News is not surprising,” said Anthony Moretti, associate professor of communication at Robert Morris.
“That network has ingrained in us the idea that it is ‘fair and balanced,' even though this poll shows people see Fox News as also biased,” Moretti said.
About 45.7 percent of poll respondents think news outlets are biased in favor of liberals and against conservatives, while 12.7 percent think they slant in favor of conservatives and against liberals.
Among types of news media, 34.6 percent of respondents said they considered television news as their most trusted source, followed by daily newspapers, print or online (22.8 percent); weekly news magazines, print or online (10.2 percent); social media (7.6 percent); blogs (7.4 percent); and entertainers or celebrities (3.1 percent).
“The preference for television news has been around for almost a generation now. This poll suggests that preference is not going away, despite our almost intimate connection to our smartphones, tablets and other personal devices,” Moretti said.
The nationwide poll surveyed 1,004 people proportional to state populations. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Tom Fontaine is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7847 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Federal jury says gas company shorted owners on royalties
- Loose barges on Monongahela River highlight woes of winter’s end
- Minority employment report: Diversified workforce lacking in Western Pa.
- ‘Bus rapid transit’ link from Oakland to Downtown slow to actualize
- Pittsburgh chess tournament likely to include pair of grandmasters
- Mt. Lebanon deer-culling corrals sprayed with urine, repellent
- Department of Education scrutinizes Point Park for response to sexual assault claims
- Drilling group says Wolf overestimates expected tax revenue
- Pittsburgh has enough salt despite delivery refusal on Thursday, official says
- Police looking for Duquesne man they say assaulted 13-year-old girl
- Newsmaker: Mark Lee