Poll: Public blames the messenger, politicals not so much


A new survey from Rasmussen Reports finds that average citizens are still angry at the media – although the numbers are down a bit from last year when the 2010 elections were starting to heat up. When Rasmussen asked the same questions to members of what it calls “the political class,” however, the numbers were quite different.

61% are at least somewhat angry at the media, according to the latest sounding, and 26% are very angry. The group includes only likely voters, and the results are said to be only slightly lower than a year ago. 36% are not particularly angry, and 13% isn’t angry at all.

The perception of the political class completely stands these results on their head. Check out this result: 83% of the political professionals are not angry with the media, compared with 71% of the mainstream.

The numbers hold when discussing reporting on President Barack Obama. Looking again at likely voters, 38% believe reporters working that topic are trying to forward Obama’s agenda. There is good news for the media here – that number stood at 48% a year ago.

And in general, once again the professionals disagree – whereas the mainstream sees pro-Obama bias to the tune of 47%, 64% of the political class believes the media strives for unbiased reporting.

Rasmussen explained that the term “media” in this survey is completely and utterly generic – there is nothing in it to make a respondent think of Fox News, the New York Times or any other news outlet.

RBR-TVBR observation: We actually find these results to be very encouraging.

As journalists ourselves, we have our faces buried in the news media all day, every day. We have a good sense of what’s going on out there and we’re frequently writing about it. Sadly, we don’t find a very high level of knowledge about current events, not to mention basic facts, among our fellow citizens.

So the fact that the general public chooses to blame the messenger isn’t surprising – just like the general public routinely gives Congress the lowest ratings when polled on the three branches of government and then just as routinely sends the very same incumbents back to Washington.

So the fact that the Rasmussen respondents most in a position to be familiar with the material the media is reporting on says that in general, the media is doing a very good job, is excellent news for the newshounds.