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US news media's improved image proves short-lived. CNN regarded as ‘most credible’ news source

09-August-2002
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US news media's improved image proves short-lived. CNN regarded as ‘most credible’ news source

According to a recent survey by PEW Research, an influential independent opinion research group in US, the positive view from the media's post-9/11 performance, has completely disappeared. As the media's focus has shifted away from terrorism, Americans regard news organizations with the same degree of skepticism as they did in the 1990s. However, news channel CNN once again leads all other news organizations as the most credible source of news in US.

The study shows that the public's grades for news organizations have tumbled since November, on measures ranging from professionalism and patriotism to compassion and morality. Just 49% think news organizations are highly professional, down from 73% in November. If anything, the news media's rating for professionalism is now a bit lower than it was in early September, shortly before the terrorist strikes (54%). Over the same period, the news media's rating for patriotism, which stood at an all-time high in November (69%), has plummeted 20 points.

The public's evaluations of the credibility of major news organizations has remained fairly stable over the past two years. Among major TV outlets, the ratings are unchanged or show a slight decline. CNN continues to be rated the most believable television news source, with 37% of Americans who are able to rate it saying they believe all or most of what they see and hear on CNN. The Wall Street Journal rates nearly as high.

The results of this survey are based on telephone interviews conducted under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates among a nationwide sample of 1,365 adults, 18 years of age or older, during the period July 8-16, 2002. PEW center is an independent opinion research group that studies attitudes toward the press, politics and public policy issues and is known for regular national surveys that measure public attentiveness to major news stories amongst public in US.

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