Americans Still See Media as Biased After No Abortion Coverage in Election

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 24, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Americans Still See Media as Biased After No Abortion Coverage in Election

by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 24
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — Another new poll finds a strong majority of Americans still see the news media as biased and they are increasingly turning to the Internet for news. That’s no surprise given a recent study finding the mainstream media failed to cover the issue of abortion during the presidential elections.

A Zogby Poll, commissioned by IFC, found 72.6% believe the news they read and see in the mainstream media is biased.

Although there is a partisan divide on the intensity of the feelings that the media is biased, a majority of both parties hold the view. Zogby found 88.7% of Republicans and 57.5 percent of Democrats describe the news media as biased.

When it comes to determine the most reliable source of news, 37.6% of those asked consider the Internet the most reliable, with 20.3% saying national television programs and 16 percent saying radio news is the best.

When asked to name which television network provided the most unbiased news, 39.3% of those surveyed trust FOX News most for the issues they consider most important, followed by CNN with 16% and MSNBC with 15%.

The results aren’t surprising given how a Pew study, which examined 7,592 campaign stories from 48 news outlets during the general election, found less than 1 percent of campaign news coverage related to abortion issues.

Pew found only 283 stories in which religion or religious issues played a significant role and only 9 percent of these stories covered the issues of abortion or stem cell research, with abortion getting the most attention of the two.

Although abortion was covered more prominently in previous presidential elections, Pew found this year was an exception.

Pew’s report said the coverage abortion and pro-life issues did receive "tended to come in the form of reaction to statements by the candidates and quickly receded without generating any sustained narrative."

In January, a poll from the Sacred Heart University Polling Institute asked similar questions as Zogby and found Americans say the media too often sides with the pro-abortion or liberal position on sensitive political topics.

In that survey as well, Americans were asked to discuss how much they trust particular media outlets and MSNBC and PBS came in at the bottom with just four percent and three percent, respectively, saying they trust the content of those broadcast stations.

The Fox News Channel came in with the most trust among Americans, with 27 percent saying it is the most trusted news source. CNN placed second with 14.6 percent of Americans saying they trust its content.

NBC News was found trustworthy and accurate by just 10.9 percent, ABC News by seven percent, the local news channels by 6.9 percent, CBS News by 6.8 percent, and CNBS by just .6 percent of Americans.

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