More than 80 percent of U.S. adults believe the news media are critical or very important to our democracy, according to a recent survey by Gallup and the Knight Foundation. But the findings, surprising in the current national climate of “fake news” and media mistrust, also revealed that 73 percent of respondents said inaccurate information spreading through the internet is a major problem and 43 percent held a negative view of the media (compared to 33 percent who held a positive view).
Sixty-six percent of Americans said most news media do not do a good job of separating fact from opinion, an increase from 42 percent in 1984. Separating respondents by political views, the survey found that Democrats were more likely to trust the media than Republicans. The mail survey of 19,000 adults took place from Aug. 4 to Oct. 2, 2017. The full results of the survey can be found on the Knight Foundation’s website.