Wednesday, November 17, 2004

From Ratherbiased: Network Heads Grapple With New Media World

--At a public forum, the presidents of the nation's three broadcast news operations came to grips with the decline of scheduled television news, admitting that their companies no longer have a monopoly on information.

"It's very different from the comfortable oligopoly that prevailed at the beginning of broadcast news, where you had networks with enormous market share," CBS News president Andrew Heyward said. "I think that's to the public benefit. It puts more pressure on us to be excellent."

Heyward and his colleagues Neal Shapiro of NBC and David Westin of ABC also expressed dissatisfaction with aspects of their coverage, saying that they were not sufficiently skeptical of the Bush Administration's case for deposing Saddam Hussein. The three also said that they were displeased that network exit poll data had proved inaccurate for the second presidential election in a row.

Internet Use, Bias Awareness Increase from Four Years Ago (Updated)

--The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press has once again proved its status as the best source of political media demographics with its latest survey, a study of America's attitudes after the 2004 election.

Most notable among the poll's media findings was the continued rise of the internet as a news source for voters. Forty-one percent of respondents said that they used the web to obtain campaign news with 21 percent saying that they used the internet as a primary news source.

That trend was even more pronounced among voters under the age of 30. Nearly 60 percent of these younger voters said they used the internet as a news source while 40 percent said it was their preferred medium.

The other big winners this year was cable journos, particularly those at Fox News Channel which emerged as the most dominant news organization in the Pew survey. Forty percent of respondents said they got their election information mostly from cable news; over half of that number (21%) identified FNC as their favorite news source. The biggest losers on the television side were CBS and MSNBC which were named as a primary source by just nine and six percent of respondents.

Despite an across-the-board increase in media consumption from 2000, Americans did not improve their opinion of the journalists and commentators, ranking the two dead last in terms of satisfaction, below both candidates, both parties, pollsters, and political consultants.

This year's voters were more attuned to perceptions of bias in their news as well. Forty percent of respondents said that media coverage of George Bush's campaign was unfair, up 10 points from four years ago. Thirty-one percent felt that coverage of John Kerry was unfair, compared to 24 percent who thought the same about coverage of Al Gore.

There is much more on the political side of the study that is worth reading including how Bush and Kerry supporters view various issues and their prognostications on a second Bush term.

Relevant links:



Methodological notes:

Demographic data:

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