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Poll: News and News Reporting

News reporting for television, radio, newspapers, and tabloids has always been opinionated. This is partly understandable since it is difficult to give facts without having opinions about those facts. In the last couple of decades, however, news reporting has changed substantially. 

In the past, there was a fairly defined separation between news reporting and news commentary. People expected and knew that when someone gave a commentary, they would be getting a heavy dose of opinions. However, they also expected that news reporting would be as close to the facts, without opinions, as possible. This is no longer the case. Sometimes a news agency doesn’t even identify that someone is giving a commentary.

The change seemed to have started in regard to politics. As more and more topics became politically charged, largely due to the efforts of the news media, the separation between reporting and commentary has grown fuzzier over a wider range of topics. 

One public opinion poll after another shows that a huge and growing number of people are aware of all of this and that they are upset about it to one degree or another. Confidence in news media is very low in the US.

  • Question of

    Do you trust the major news media to report the truth without opinionated commentary?

    • Yes
    • No
    • Sometimes
  • Question of

    “Fake news” could also be called hypocritical news. This is when a news agency slams one person, party or group for doing or saying something, but says nothing or supports the same actions and words if they are done by another person, group, or party. Do you believe that the major news media, as a whole, is guilty of fake news?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question of

    Over the past 5 years, has your confidence in the truthfulness in news reporting decreased, increased, or stayed the same.

    • Decreased
    • Increased
    • Stayed the same
  • Question of

    Where do you get most of your news?

    • Major media (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox, MSNBC,BBC)
    • Social media (facebook, twitter)
    • Major newspapers
    • Local newspapers
    • Multiple sources to get as many opinions as possible
    • I research it myself

Report

What do you think?

Legend

Written by Rex Trulove

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10 Comments

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    • Doc, here is the problem with that. While I could link to many major polls done by major polling organizations (Harris polls, Gallup polls, etc), and many links would be needed in order to show trends, none of this would be scientific. It is very difficult to scientifically qualify and quantify opinions, which are entirely subjective. Since it is opinion-based, each person would need to make up their own minds, based on their own experiences.

      In my case, I remember watching the news as a youth, where the news was presented with very little commentary. Then, there was usually a segment on the program that was specifically commentary. Sometimes, they’d go so far as to offer opposing viewpoints, but either way, that segment was clearly for commentary. It has been a while since I’ve seen a separation between the news and the commentary and it seems like news reporting has taken so much of a backseat to commentaries that the actual news is offered almost in passing. That is just what I have personally experienced, watching all major networks.

      • By “as a youth”, I’m referring to the mid-1960’s’ to the early 1970’s. Before the 1960’s, I paid no attention to the news and after the early 1970’s, the “news” started changing, almost as if the focus was changing toward something that was more meant for entertainment.

        1
        • Then your article should have started with “commentary” or “IMHO” and of course it calls into question its credibility even more.

          Remember this:
          Stalin controlled information flow in the soviet union. People he didn’t like disappeared. Some of them forever.
          Mao ruled and controlled information in China. If he didn’t like you, you disappeared.

          You may not like what the press has to say. They are simply the vehicle of the derisive political climate created in the past three years (perhaps IMHO, worsened in the last 3 years)

          1
          • Honestly, I don’t care what they say. They have egg on their faces as it is, and according to polls, they are paying a price for it. What I object to is to companies that say that they report the news when they only report commentary. Clearly, I’m not alone.

            Years ago, laws were put into place forcing food companies to properly label their products. Mislabeling a product can result in very heavy fines. As much as I’m against additional regulations, I’m thinking that at least admitting that they are giving commentary when they are, wouldn’t be too much to ask.

            By all means, freedom to openly express opinions and the freedom of the press are both constitutional rights, and that is good. That is one of the biggest allies that “the other side” has against fake news. They think that they are controlling masses, but they aren’t, and public opinion is showing it.

        • Rex, there are legal ramifications for news organizations that make food labels look like a tiny effort.

          1. There is a YEARLY review by the FCC. All TV stations are reviewed and they are forced to comply with regulations and rules. If they don’t they lose their broadcast rights.
          2. There are Libel and Defamation – and by the way, TV and newspapers have legally won more than 90% of these cases. That means the law says that in fact TV and Newspaper aren’t lying or publishing “opinion only”.

          Those two are facts Rex not opinions.

          Again I remind you, a free press was the desire of the founders of our nation.

          Your commentary based on your opinion is wholly your right to share. It is however at best commentary. As many polls, as you can show that have the media losing the trust of the American people, I can show you polls that show the opposite.

          Take a poll in Annapolis Maryland right now (which they did about two weeks ago) The press in Annapolis right now is regarded as very important.

          We have a political reality in this country right now. We have a group of people at the head of the government that consistently present the facts that make their side of the story better. They do not report all of the facts. They misrepresent a lot of numbers, every single day.

          The last American president to attack the press the way our current does was the only president to resign from the office. WHy? First, in 1971 he lost a case in the US Supreme court about the Pentagon Papers. Then it was revealed that his campaign illegally tampered with the Democratic party by sending burglars into their offices (Watergate).

          The last point, more journalists were arrested in the world in 2017 than in the previous three years COMBINED. None of my words are going to sway you, you’ve bought into the rhetoric. So I leave you with this last thought.

          If the media is so dishonest, why isn’t the GOP suing outlets for Libel or Defamation? They have, by the way, as have the DNP. They haven’t won those cases in the past. Fake news is the biggest fake news in the universe. There are no facts to back up the half-truths and out right lies being told.

          • I started to give you a lengthy answer and decided that it would be article-length, so I wrote up the response in the form of an article. I doubt that the truth of this will get through, but perhaps some of it will.

        • “the truth” will come through Rex, if you have facts to back up the statements. If you are leveraging opinion and supposition, then like those in both US political parties decrying Fake News, you aren’t purveying the truth.

          The history of journalism in the United States is an interesting one. The concept of yellow journalism arose in the late 1890’s and rolled into the 1900’s. From that, there were standards established. out of that period, there were people in the press that wrote of working conditions, unsanitary food preparation and other things that have saved millions of lives since that reporting.

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