WASHINGTON DC: Only a minority (47%) of consumers in the US believe their news media do very or somewhat well in the accuracy of their reporting of political issues.
That compares with a global median of 52% and places American trust in the news media on about the same level as respondents in Australia (48%), Tunisia (48%) and France (also 47%).
By contrast, Filipinos (78%), the Dutch (74%), Canadians (73%), Indians (65%) and South Africans (65%) are among numerous nationalities who have greater faith than Americans in their news media’s ability to report political issues fairly.
But even more sceptical than Americans are consumers in Greece (18%), who are by far the least trusting in the world, Spain (33%), Italy (36%) and Poland (40%).
These are some of the key findings from a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, which examined attitudes to news media across 38 countries in 2017.
The Pew survey also revealed that a median of 75% globally say it is never acceptable for a news organisation to favour one political party over others when reporting the news.
This rises to 78% of American respondents, although Europeans show the greatest opposition to political bias in their news, including 89% in Spain and 88% in Greece who think this is unacceptable.
In addition, the survey examined attitudes to political parties in power and revealed large gaps in the ratings of media between governing party supporters and non-supporters.
For example, on the question of whether their news media cover political issues fairly, partisan differences appear in 20 of the 38 countries surveyed.
In five countries, the gap is at least 20 percentage points, with the largest by far in the US at 34 percentage points, followed by Israel with a 26-point difference.
Interestingly, the Pew researchers also found that the US is one of only a few countries where governing party supporters are less satisfied with their news media than are non-supporters.
Elsewhere, the Pew report confirmed that digital technology is influencing news habits across the world – with a median of 42% among the 38 countries surveyed saying they get news on the internet at least once a day, while half or more adults get news online daily in 14 countries.
In general, internet access is higher in wealthier countries – and this corresponds to a greater likelihood of using the internet for news as well – yet the trend does not appear to play out on social media.
According to the survey findings, “the percentage that gets news on social media is not strongly related to country wealth”.
Overall, a global median of 35% get news daily through social media, with the highest levels in South Korea (57%), Lebanon (52%) and Argentina (51%).
Sourced from Pew Research Center; additional content by WARC staff