If it's in the News, it's in our Polls. Public opinion polling since 2003.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What America Thinks: Media Covers News In Black and White

The media firestorm that is the Ferguson, MO shooting doesn’t seem to be dying down anytime soon. Is the media giving us the straight story? We decided to find out what America thinks.

Americans think the media plays favorites. For instance, over half think that if the cop in the Ferguson shooting was black and the victim was white, the story would receive less media coverage than it is now. Even 43% of black adults believe the story would have gotten less attention if the victim was white.

Similarly, in the case of the Gaza conflict, while most Americans support the Israelis and believe their fellow citizens do as well, just 20% think the world media feels the same. A third of Americans think the media favors the Palestinians, and just 22% think they give fair coverage to both sides.

They also accuse the media of sensationalism. Nearly half think the media make outbreaks like the recent Ebola virus sound worse than they are, and 42% think they make global warming seem worse than it is. Just as many think they overhype major weather events like blizzards and hurricanes as well. They also think media over-coverage of events like mass shootings encourage more violence.

While most Americans believe getting the story right is more important than getting it first, 84% believe most major news organizations are more concerned with getting a story first than getting it right.

Overall, just 20% consider the news media very trustworthy.

The media, it seems, has some work to do to reassure Americans that what they read and see is what really happened. For Rasmussen Reports, I’m Alex Boyer. Remember, if it’s in the news, it’s in our polls.