Onliners Profess Little Trust in Network News

  • by February 23, 2001
Note to Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings: "We love you but we don't always believe you." In a just released study by BIGresearch on Public Policy and Media Influence both men and women cite television as their favorite source for news with Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings their favorite anchors.

However, both men and women strongly distrust the reporting of World News.

50.8% of the 9079 respondents overwhelmingly selected television as their primary source of news, with 19.5% selecting online as their authoritative source of news, and 17.3% selecting newspapers.

When asked what media influences their political opinion the most, 48.2% said television, with 17.5 % and 12.3 % indicating newspaper and online respectively.

However, the data shows that 54.8% of the respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed that the reporting of news is objective. "It appears that people have become cynical of media news, but are still willing to engage in the Para social activity of inviting the market researched anchor into the home as a guest, regardless of their ambivalence toward the reporting," said Dr. Joe Pilotta, VP of Research for BIGresearch.

"With broadcasting and cable networks suffering in credibility, the recent pitch by Fox as the 'network with no spin news' could be a good rhetorical strategy to attract the disenchanted. Perhaps the male, 25-34 year age group, who tends to prefer online for their news events will be receptive to a 'no spin news' marketing strategy," said Pilotta.

"Actually, males in general will probably be more receptive to the 'no spin news' concept, as men tend to be more opinionated, which may be the case of 25-34 year old males who want some authority and prestige," said Pilotta.

The preliminary findings of the study support a need to study the news media as "part of a social distribution of knowledge". In a world in which television allows us to be present everywhere without leaving the privacy of home, understanding of how TV reports the news is key to the formation of political opinions.

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