State of the News Media 2013
News reporting resources continued to decline in 2012 and nearly a third of Americans have abandoned a news outlet. Meanwhile, more newsmakers are able to take their messages directly to the public.
Voters Give Low Marks to the 2012 Campaign
Many voters say the 2012 presidential election campaign was more negative than usual and had less discussion of issues than in most previous campaigns. They give mixed grades to the candidates, the consultants, the press and the pollsters.
Romney’s ’47%’ Comments Criticized, But Many Also Say Overcovered
Fully two-thirds of voters (67%) correctly identify Mitt Romney as the candidate who said 47% of the public is dependent on government and more than half of them (55%) have a negative reaction.
Further Decline in Credibility Ratings for Most News Organizations
For the second time in a decade, the believability ratings for major news organizations have suffered broad-based declines. In the new survey, the ratings have fallen significantly for nine of 13 news organizations tested. The falloff affects organizations in most sectors: national newspapers, such as the New York Times and USA Today, all three cable news outlets, the broadcast TV networks and NPR.
Blacks’ Views of Law Enforcement, Racial Progress and News Coverage of Race
The Trayvon Martin case has highlighted issues relating to the treatment of blacks by local police departments, the state of race relations in the U.S. and press coverage of African Americans. Pew Research Center surveys in recent years have covered the opinions of African Americans on these and other issues.
Cable Leads the Pack as Campaign News Source
Cable news is now the top regular source for campaign news. The long-term decline in the number of Americans getting campaign news from local and network TV news, and local newspapers, steepened this year. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are used for campaign news by a relatively limited audience.
Press Widely Criticized, But Trusted More than Other Sources of Information
Negative opinions about the performance of news organizations now equal or surpass all-time highs on nine of 12 core measures the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press has been tracking since 1985.
Most Say Political Sex Scandals Due to Greater Scrutiny, Not Lower Morality
A 57%-majority says elected officials just get caught more often because they are under greater scrutiny. About two-in-ten (19%), on the other hand, say elected officials have lower moral standards than ordinary Americans.
Press Coverage and Public Interest
The public tended to maintain its interest in major breaking news stories considerably longer than the press did. And the press tended to maintain substantially more interest in Washington Beltway controversies than did its audience.
Public’s Top Stories of the Decade — 9/11 and Katrina
The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 drew more public interest than any other story in the past decade. The 2005 hurricanes in the Gulf, high gasoline prices and the collapse of the economy in 2008 also grabbed overwhelming public attention.