Most Americans are troubled by the current state of the media as well as ethics in the field of journalism today, according to a recent study released by San Francisco-based tech PR firm Bospar.
According to the study, virtually all respondents polled (95 percent) said they’re troubled by the current state of the media in the United States.
Asked to list the top reasons for their concerns, more than half (53 percent) cited the “fake news” phenomenon, followed by a penchant for reporting gossip (49 percent). Lying spokespeople (48 percent), favoring celebrity opinions (36 percent), left-wing agendas (34 percent), the practice of “gotcha journalism" (33 percent) and right-wing agendas (32 percent) followed. Other respondents cited a rise of puff pieces, hit pieces and the practice of relying on independent contributors as opposed to payroll reporters.
A majority of Americans also think journalism in the U.S. has gotten even more unethical. Nearly half of respondents (43 percent) believe journalism is less ethical now than before, while more than a third (37 percent) think ethics in the field hasn’t changed. Only one in five (20 percent) think journalists today are more ethical than they were in the past.
Perhaps, for this reason, more than two-thirds of Americans polled (67 percent) said they also expect ethics in journalism to decline even further during the 2020 presidential campaign. When asked about what effects unethical journalism has on the country, most respondents said they think the practice creates division and partisanship (64 percent) and fuels inaccuracies (63 percent). An additional 60 percent said unethical journalism incites hate and 57 percent said it’s responsible for creating a culture of fear.
Respondents said they considered local print and online journalists to be the most ethical in the field (40 percent), followed by local TV reporters and anchors (23 percent) and national print and online journalists (22 percent). Only 15 percent of Americans believe national TV anchors and reporters were the most ethical.
Bospar’s “Ethics in Media” study surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. adults in late August. The survey was conducted by market research company Propeller Insights.