Combatting misinformation, bias seen as biggest challenges facing news outlets

New poll examines outlooks on the future of news and patterns of news consumption

The author(s)

  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Johnny Sawyer Senior Research Analyst
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Washington, DC, March 15, 2022 — A new Ipsos poll finds that Americans believe combating both misinformation and bias in reporting are the biggest challenges that news outlets currently face. Amid these challenges, younger Americans (age 18-34) are thinking more about the future of news consumption, both near-term and long-term, than older (age 55+) Americans. The poll also finds that Americans feel they are seeing the right amount and type of news, and that the majority only consume news that they do not have to pay for.

Detailed Findings

Americans believe that combating misinformation and bias in reporting are the biggest challenges currently facing news outlets.

  • Just under half (48%) say that combating misinformation in reporting is the biggest challenge that news outlets face. A similar percentage (44%) believe that combating bias in reporting is the biggest challenge.
    • This sentiment is much stronger amongst Americans aged 55+ (60% and 51%, respectively) than those aged 18-34 (31% and 35%).
    • Infrequent cable news watchers, defined as those who watch 1-3 hours of cable news per day (51% and 44%) and those that don’t watch cable news (50% and 49%) are also more likely than frequent cable news watchers, meaning those who consume 4+ hours per day (31% each), to believe misinformation and bias are big challenges for news outlets.
  • Along these lines, 57% of Americans agree that the mainstream media is more interested in making money than telling the truth.

A secondary challenge that Americans believe news outlets face is losing their subscribers or viewers.

  • A third (32%) say that losing subscribers or viewers is the biggest challenge news outlets face.
    • Americans aged 55+ (40%) are more likely to feel this is the biggest challenge than those aged 18-34 (28%).
  • Preventing subscriber loss can be a challenge for outlets because a majority of Americans do not pay for news. Three in five (59%) only read or consume news they can access for free, while just 22% currently pay for a newspaper subscription or to access online news websites.

Younger Americans tend to think more about the future of news consumption in the U.S. than older Americans.

  • A majority of those aged 18-34 (63%) think about how news consumption will change within the next year at least once a week. This is much higher than those aged 55+ (37%).
  • The same is true of how news consumption will change in the next 5 years. Fifty-five percent of 18–34-year-olds think about this once per week, compared to just 34% of those 55 and older.
  • Half of Americans feel neutrally about the possibilities for the future of news in the next 1-5 years. Americans across all age groups are aligned in this belief.

Americans generally feel that they are exposed to the right amount and correct type of news.

  • A majority believe they are exposed to the right amount of local news (62%), national news (56%) and local or state politics (53%).
  • A plurality (46%) says the amount of national politics they are exposed to is about right. However, around three in ten say they see too much national politics, much higher than other types of news.

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between February 25-28, 2022. For this survey, a sample of 1,002 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii was interviewed online in English.

The sample was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel, partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2016 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.

Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online non-probability polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=1,002, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-5.3 percentage points).

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Mallory Newall
Vice President,
Public Affairs, U.S.
[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest Insights and Analytics company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

Our passionately curious research professionals, analysts and scientists have built unique multi-specialist capabilities that provide true understanding and powerful insights into the actions, opinions and motivations of citizens, consumers, patients, customers or employees. We serve more than 5000 clients across the world with 75 business solutions.

Founded in France in 1975, Ipsos is listed on the Euronext Paris since July 1st, 1999. The company is part of the SBF 120 and the Mid-60 index and is eligible for the Deferred Settlement Service (SRD).

ISIN code FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP www.ipsos.com

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The author(s)

  • Mallory Newall Vice President, US, Public Affairs
  • Johnny Sawyer Senior Research Analyst

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