Despite how much everyone loves grousing about the digital takeover, staffed by fake news and flash in the pan social media influencers, the majority of Americans still prefer getting their news directly from the man in the tube. According to a new Pew Research Center survey, nearly half of US adults privilege television over radio, reading, and even the web.
To be fair, social media has already devoured print news and is well on its way to outpacing every other contender. The antenna old outs are encouraged by a panoply of factors: convenience, for a start, dictates how most Americans do anything. Who wants to waste their time shuffling through a Rolodex of internet pamphleteers when you can crack open a beer, sit back and take in the quotidian buzz of two dead-eyed anchors.
More than just an antipathy toward the web, the majority of Americans prefer local news above the cable and national evening network news programs. This preference seems to be activated by a growing (bipartisan) mistrust of the media. The internet has become an anemic arena of rage bait nonsense (Top 10 Reasons your neighbor Gary is in blackface right now), and an intense political landscape has ensured all the recognizable commentators pander to their polarized pen of lambs. There’s nothing political, or contrived about two-dead eyed anchors regurgitating a roundup of all the kids that went missing that week: it’s a good ole’ fashioned western distraction. It’s familiar and unassuming, and every once in awhile they’ll pepper the horror with a story about a Labrador that made friends with an elephant or whatever. TV news will likely keep its head above water so long as this cynical wariness persists.
Political commentator Mathew Ingrahm adds, “What might restore that lost trust? Respondents chose a variety of factors such as accuracy (including “not reporting stories before [a news outlet] verifies all the facts and being willing to correct mistakes it makes”), as well as lack of bias, and transparency (including “providing fact-checking resources and providing links to research and facts that back up [the news outlet’s] reporting.)”
It goes without saying though that the biggest disparity in the “news diet” is a generational one. For example, people 65 years of age and older, are virtually the only people keeping print news alive, while respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 are four times as likely to get their news from social media.