Indictment of TV News

Editor & Publisher, July 18, 1992 | Go to article overview

Indictment of TV News


The latest survey of "The People, the Press & Politics," conducted by Times Mirror, contains a strong indictment of television news as an informative news medium.

Two years ago, the 1990 Times Mirror study of generational differences in news attentiveness and media use "concluded that the |new generation gap' was not one of politics or values, but one of information and attentiveness. The results of Times Mirror's News Interest Index surveys when contrasted with the findings of historical opinion polls found that people under 30 represented a |generation that knows less, and cares less' about what's going on in the larger world than previous generations of young people."

When asked about their sources of election news, almost all Americans say they are turning to television (84%), half say they are relying on newspapers, one in five mentions radio, and fewer than one in 10 mention magazines. Looked at another way, the survey shows "the public divides about evenly between those who are relying exclusively on television for news about the campaign (40%), versus those who are relying on both media (43%) or on newspapers only (12%).

"A majority of people under 35 rely solely on tv for campaign news...

"Times Mirror surveys have consistently shown that people who rely on television only for campaign news know less about the campaign than people who use newspapers to follow the election. In the current poll this is illustrated by the finding that only 25% of "tv exclusives" know that the Democrats control Congress, while 45% who read newspapers do. …

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