Is the News Fit to Print?

Fewer than half of adult Americans believe the media offers fair, balanced coverage of the news, according to a 1997 survey performed by the Newspaper Association of America and the American Society of Newspaper Editors. The survey sought to compare attitudes among different ethnic groups but found that all ethnic groups are dissatisfied with the quality of current journalism. Overall, only 47.3 percent of Americans feel that newspapers are fair. "Respondents in every demographic group reported that newspapers fell short on believability, on accuracy, on fairness and on many other issues that define journalism's credibility," notes the NAA's summary of the study, adding, "The greater the income and education, the harsher the judgments of newspapers' performance."