Image courtesy: Pfc. David Hauk, U.S. Army. Kandahar, Afghanistan, November 12, 2009

Friday, January 15, 2010

Poll results: American media has work to do

On December 12, this blog asked you, the readers, this question:

Do you think the American media devotes enough time to U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan?

The poll results are staggering. 99% of respondents, or 109 of you, answered no. One person voted yes. While this poll is of course unscientific, a result this lopsided spotlights an obvious disconnect between journalists and the public, which other scientific surveys have backed up. A 2009 Sacred Heart University poll found only 17.4% trusted the news media to report news honestly. That percentage was down a substantial margin from 2003, the year U.S. forces invaded Iraq.

Several scientific surveys have also found viewers think the national media covers too much celebrity news. As someone who worked in newsrooms for over eight years, I can tell you there is a huge push among management to focus on entertainment. It's silly, irresponsible, and wrong, and many of the individual stories of sacrifice you see on this blog don't get covered as a result. In the wake of a real human tragedy in Haiti, as well as the continuing violence in Afghanistan and Iraq, there is no better time for the media to confront this issue.

Thanks to everyone who voted in the poll, and a new one will be posted shortly.

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