News Reporting is Perceived as Biased, though Less Agreement on Whether it is Liberal or Conservative Bias
CNN and FOX News are channels most often turned to for political news
ROCHESTER, N.Y., June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Over six in 10 U.S. adults agree that there is bias in the reporting of news, though there is less agreement as to whether there is a liberal or conservative bias. Furthermore, viewers of talk shows say that the hosts of these shows are equally critical of Republicans and Democrats. Greater numbers of adults say they turn to CNN and FOX News most often when seeking news or information about public affairs or politics. These are the results of a nationwide Harris Poll of 1,179 U.S. adults surveyed online by Harris Interactive(R) between June 7 and 13, 2006. Specific results from this poll include: * Almost four in 10 U.S. adults (37%) listen to talk shows on the radio at least once a week and about three in 10 (29%) watch political or public affairs TV shows at least once a week. * CNN (20%) and FOX News (18%) are the television channels adults most often turn to when they want news or information related to politics or public affairs. These are followed by the networks, including ABC (9%), NBC (8%) and CBS (7%). Other channels include MSNBC (5%), C-SPAN (3%), PBS (3%) and CNBC (1%). * When comparing those who are "heavy" users of the media (including talk radio and television) to "light" users, a slightly different profile emerges. Among "heavy" media users, FOX News is the leading channel at 39 percent, followed by CNN at 22 percent. Among "light" media users, CNN is at the top (21%) followed by ABC (13%), NBC (11%), CBS (9%) and FOX News (8%). * When looking at the profile of viewers of TV channels that are watched most often for news about politics or public affairs, preferences emerge based on political affiliation and political philosophy. CNN's viewers are more likely to be Democrats (42%) or Independents (29%) than Republicans (19%), whereas FOX News viewers are more likely to be Republicans (63%) as compared to Democrats (12%) or Independents (20%). Similarly, FOX News viewers are more likely to say they are Conservative (61%) than Moderate (35%) or Liberal (4%). CNN viewers are more likely to say they are Moderate (61%) than Liberal (27%) or Conservative (12%). The potential biases associated with the media's reporting have been discussed a great deal. This Harris Poll explores whether the public thinks that talk show hosts are more critical of Democrats or Republicans. Among those who watch talk shows at least once a month, 22 percent think that talk show hosts are more critical of Democrats and 25 percent say that hosts are more critical of Republicans. The remaining 52 percent say that the hosts are equally critical of both parties. However, over six in 10 (63%) of Republicans agree that there is bias in the news reporting, with the remaining 36 percent saying they are not sure (31%) or think there is no bias (5%). Interestingly, the adult public overall thinks that there is more of a liberal bias (38%) than a conservative bias (25%). While this may not be altogether surprising, the fact that the findings don't show an even greater liberal bias is noteworthy. * Furthermore, among those who are "heavy" users of the media, a majority (54%) say that there is a liberal bias in news reporting, compared to 24 percent who say there is a conservative bias. Among "light" media users there is less of a difference, with similar numbers saying that there is a liberal bias (31%) or conservative bias (25%). * CNN viewers are split on this issue, with a third (33%) saying that there is a liberal bias and another third (32%) saying there is a conservative bias. * FOX News viewers, however, strongly feel that there is a liberal bias (69%) as compared to 12 percent who say there is a conservative bias. Among adults who say that there is bias in the media, television is perceived as having the "greatest bias in the reporting of news" (41%). Seventeen percent say that print media and seven percent say that radio is biased in their reporting. Three in 10 (31%) say that the media overall are equally biased. TABLE 1 WATCH OR LISTEN TO TALK SHOWS OR PUBLIC AFFAIRS "How often do you listen to talk shows on the radio? How often do you watch political or public affairs shows on television?" Base: All adults Political or Talk Shows Public on the Affairs Radio Shows on Television % % Less than once a month 54 50 Less than once a week but more than once a month 9 21 Once or twice a week 13 16 Three times a week or more 25 13 Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding. TABLE 2 TELEVISION CHANNEL TURN TO MOST OFTEN FOR NEWS RELATED TO POLITICS OR PUBLIC AFFAIRS "When you want news or information related to politics or public affairs, which television channel do you turn to most often?" Base: All adults Total Media Usage Heavy Light % % % CNN 20 22 21 FOX News 18 39 8 ABC 9 3 13 NBC 8 4 11 CBS 7 2 9 MSNBC 5 7 4 C-SPAN 3 4 2 PBS 3 3 2 CNBC 1 1 2 Local cable news channel 4 6 5 Local broadcast news channel 8 3 10 Sunday morning shows (various broadcasts) 2 4 1 Something else 4 3 4 Don't watch news 7 - 10 Note: Media usage defined: Heavy: Listen to talk radio and watch political/public affairs at least once a week Light: Listen to talk radio and watch political/public affairs at most 2-3 times a month TABLE 3 PROFILE OF VIEWERS OF TV CHANNELS WATCHED MOST OFTEN FOR NEWS ABOUT POLITICS OR PUBLIC AFFAIRS "When you want news or information related to politics or public affairs, which television channel do you turn to most often?" Base: All adults Total CNN FOX ABC NBC CBS % % % % % % Political Party Affiliation Republicans 29 19 63 21 27 27 Democrats 33 42 12 39 59 45 Independents 28 29 20 31 12 23 Political Philosophy Conservative 29 12 61 22 28 23 Moderate 50 61 35 63 46 63 Liberal 20 27 4 14 26 14 TABLE 4 WHICH TALK SHOWS HOSTS ARE MORE CRITICAL OF DEMOCRATS OR REPUBLICANS "Thinking of the shows you listen to or watch the most, would you describe their host or hosts as more critical of the Democrats or more critical of the Republicans?" Base: Adults who listen to or watch talk shows at least once a month TV Channel Turn to Most Often Political Party Affiliation for Politics and Public Affairs Total Republicans Democrats Independents CNN FOX % % % % % % More critical of Democrats 22 27 24 18 19 28 Equally critical of both 52 42 52 58 54 47 More critical of Republicans 25 30 24 24 27 25 Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100 percent due to rounding. TABLE 5 IS THERE A BIAS IN REPORTING OF NEWS? "Some have said there is a bias in the reporting of news in television, radio or print (newspapers and magazines).Which comes closest to your opinion?" Base: All adults Political Party Affiliation Total Republican Democrat Independent % % % % There is a liberal bias in the media 38 66 18 36 There is no bias in the media 5 1 8 7 There is a conservative bias in the media 25 13 37 26 Not at all sure 31 20 36 31 Political Philosophy Conservative Moderate Liberal % % % There is a liberal bias in the media 62 35 10 There is no bias in the media 3 5 9 There is a conservative bias in the media 13 24 47 Not at all sure 22 36 34 Note: Percentages add up to more than 100 percent due to multiple responses accepted. Base: All adults TV Channel turn to Most Total Media Usage Often for Politics and Public Affairs Heavy Light CNN FOX % % % % % There is a liberal bias in the media 38 54 31 33 69 There is no bias in the media 5 7 4 9 1 There is a conservative bias in the media 25 24 25 32 12 Not at all sure 31 15 41 26 19 Note: Percentages add up to more than 100 percent due to multiple responses accepted. Note: Media Usage defined: Heavy: Listen to talk radio and watch political/public affairs at least once a week Light: Listen to talk radio and watch political/public affairs at most 2- 3 times a month TABLE 6 WHICH MEDIA HAS GREATEST BIAS IN REPORTING OF NEWS? "Of the three primary media - television, radio, and print (newspapers and magazines) - which one do you feel has the greatest bias in the reporting of news?" Base: Adults who say there is bias in the media Political Party Affiliation Total Republican Democrat Independent % % % % Television 41 44 35 44 Print 17 27 10 12 Radio 7 2 11 9 All are equally biased 31 25 35 31 None is more biased than another 4 2 7 3 Not sure 1 - 3 1 Political Philosophy Conservative Moderate Liberal % % % Television 37 47 31 Print 22 15 10 Radio 2 7 16 All are equally biased 35 27 33 None is more biased than another 3 3 8 Not sure - 2 3 Note: Multiple response question. Methodology This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between June 7 and 13, 2006 among 1,179 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online. All surveys are subject to several sources of error. These include: sampling error (because only a sample of a population is interviewed); measurement error due to question wording and/or question order, deliberately or unintentionally inaccurate responses, nonresponse (including refusals), interviewer effects (when live interviewers are used) and weighting. With one exception (sampling error) the magnitude of the errors that result cannot be estimated. There is, therefore, no way to calculate a finite "margin of error" for any survey and the use of these words should be avoided. With pure probability samples, with 100 percent response rates, it is possible to calculate the probability that the sampling error (but not other sources of error) is not greater than some number. With a pure probability sample of 1,179 adults one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points. However that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated. These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls. J28028 Q800-Q825 About Harris Interactive Harris Interactive is the 13th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world. The company provides research-driven insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what could conceivably be the world's largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe and Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiary Novatris in France and through a global network of independent market research firms. The service bureau, HISB, provides its market research industry clients with mixed-mode data collection, panel development services as well as syndicated and tracking research consultation. More information about Harris Interactive may be obtained at www.harrisinteractive.com. To become a member of the Harris Poll Online, visit www.harrispollonline.com. The Harris Poll(R) #52, June 30, 2006 By David Krane, Vice President, Public Affairs and Policy Research, Harris Interactive(R) Press Contact: Jennifer Cummings Harris Interactive 585-214-7720
SOURCE Harris Interactive
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