The Pew Center for Research has released its latest survey on the news media, and the results are predictably ugly.
Among the findings:
- Sixty-three percent say news articles are inaccurate. That’s up from 53 percent in 2007.
- Seventy-four percent say news organizations take sides.
- Seventy-four percent also say news organizations also are influenced by powerful forces, such as political leaders and advertisers.
These numbers coincide with a declining use of newspapers, for instance, as the primary source for where people get their information, with 33 percent saying they got their news from newspapers. So what does this mean? New York Times Executive
Editor William Keller believes the continuing decline is the result of the blogosphere and the ongoing chaos on the Internet.
He is right to some degree. News consumers are increasingly confused about who is reporting what, to whom and how. The result is predictable. Like the Love Generation of the 1960s, it is smarter in these times to trust no one, consume only what feels good, and wait for “the truth” to emerge, like the Lochness Monster, from the depths of the murk.
The answer in my view: News organizations must maintain faith in the values that built their craft, an independent curiousity and a willingness to anger anyone at anytime on matters of public interest. The issue news organizations have yet to face is that they have lost (or, perhaps, more fairly, misplaced) these values, these elements of the soul, including the New York Times, which apologized for failing to fulfill its watchdog in the days leading up to the Iraq War.
Come back to the fold, my friends.