Americans Unimpressed With Media’s Ability to Remain Unbiased in Political Reporting

Vast majority report turning off programs because they were too biased.

The author(s)

  • Mallory Newall Director, US, Public Affairs
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Washington, DC, September 12, 2019 — According to an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Newsy, less than half of Americans believe newspapers (42%) and broadcast news (41%) report on political issues fairly. Even less believe online news (32%), cable news (31%) and news streaming services (31%) are fair in their political reporting. When asked whether they believe their preferred news outlet generally reports on political issues fairly, sentiments vary by both political affiliation and age. Democrats (64%) are more than twice as likely as Republicans (51%) to believe this is true, while Millennials and Gen Z fall in between the two parties, with almost half (48%) who say the same.

The majority of Americans (60%), Democrats (62%) and Republicans (60%) check the news daily, while only 39% of Millennial and Gen Z report checking daily. While individuals in both parties agree that it is impossible for media outlets to be completely unbiased in their reporting (55% total; compared to 57% of Democrats and 53% of Republicans), Republicans are generally much more pessimistic about the media. Democrats, Millennials and Gen Z tend to have a more optimistic view of the media. Three-quarters (76%) say that there aren’t enough options for unbiased news, while just 56% of Democrats say the same. Republicans (85%) are also more inclined than Democrats (72%) to say that it is never acceptable for news organizations to favor one political party when reporting the news, although the vast majority of Americans agree (78%). In fact, 67% report turning off news programs because they were too biased.

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between July 12-15, 2019 on behalf of Newsy. For this survey, a sample of 2,034 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S. Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online in English. The sample includes 1,024 Democrats, 917 Republicans, 56 Independents, and 645 for Millennials/Gen Z.

The study was conducted online in Ipsos’s Omnibus using the web-enabled “KnowledgePanel,” a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the US general population, not just the online population. KnowledgePanel® is a web enabled probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population. Initially, participants are chosen scientifically by a random selection of telephone numbers and residential addresses. Persons in selected households are then invited by telephone or by mail to participate in the web-enabled KnowledgePanel®. For those who agree to participate, but do not already have Internet access, Ipsos provides at no cost a laptop and ISP connection. People who already have computers and Internet service are permitted to participate using their own equipment. Panelists then receive unique log-in information for accessing surveys online, and then are sent emails throughout each month inviting them to participate in research.

The margin of error is plus or minus 2.1 percentage points for all respondents, plus or minus 3.0 percentage points for Democrats, plus or minus 3.2 percentage points for Republicans, plus or minus 13.1 percentage points for Independents, and plus or minus 3.9 percentage points for Millennial/Gen Z.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Mallory Newall
Director, US
Public Affairs
+1 202 420-2014
mallory.newall@ipsos.com

About Ipsos

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

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The author(s)

  • Mallory Newall Director, US, Public Affairs

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