Public agrees the press should act as watchdog


WatchdogsA study from the Pew Research Center found that a healthy majority of Americans believe that journalists act as a check on the government, and in this day and age of rampant polarization, perhaps the biggest surprise is that the view is held equally across the party-line spectrum.

69% of Republicans and independents believe that the media has been effective in this roll, and they are joined by a similarly-sized 67% chunk of the Democratic audience.

The overall 68% who endorse the watchdog roll is a big improvement over the 58% who said the same in 2011.

Perhaps the best news for news-producers is that their biggest current believers are from the younger end of the age spectrum – just the kind of numbers media execs who wish to have a future like to read. 75% of the 18-29 cell and 72% of the 30-49 cell cited journalists as watchdogs. Another healthy endorsement comes from the college-educated group, who produced a 74% result.

At the same time, Pew looked at where respondents go to get their news, and results were good for three out of four media surveyed.

Television lost a little ground looking back to 2001, but has moved up since 2011. And the best news is that it was #1 throughout the 2001-2013 time frame. It scored 74% in 2001, dropped to 66% in 2011 and is back up to 69% in the current survey.

Radio has actually gained ground in comparison to both other surveys. It registered a 18% score in 2011 and 19% in 2011, and now enjoys an uptick to 23%.

The biggest gainer, to nobody’s surprise we are sure, it the internet. It has gone from 13% in 2001, surged to 43% in 2011 and has now reached the 50% level.

Going the other way, thankfully not quite as rapidly, is newspaper. It’s trajectory is 45% down to 31% down to 28%.