With the rise of technology around the world, sharing information has never been easier. However, a recent follow-up study conducted by Gallup and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation show adults in the United States “estimate that 62 percent of the news they read in newspapers, see on television or hear on the radio is biased.”
While most of the 1,440 Gallup Panel members surveyed felt most of the information found in the news is accurate, they estimated around 44 percent carries inaccuracies.
While ‘fake news’ stories have been around for centuries, the rise of the topic came to light when, in 2016, BuzzFeed’s Craig Silverman and his college Lawrence Alexander noticed increasing trends in the media where inaccurate and falsified information was published in one small town located in Macedonia.
The term “fake news” gained momentum with President Donald Trump and his 2016 election campaign. Articles posted on social media sites like Facebook also became dubbed “fake news.”
This is where American adults became more critical of the information found on social media platforms, according to the study. Participants felt 80 percent of what was published on social media is biased. Nearly 64 percent believe news on social media is inaccurate and 65 percent believe it misinforms.
The foundation also followed up with another study regarding perceived accuracy and bias in the news.
According to the report, “bias and accuracy appear to be in the eye of the beholder, greatly influenced by whether one agrees with the ideological leaning of the news source.”
They concluded the perceptions of widespread bias and inaccuracy in the media may be influenced the view from the other side of the ideological spectrum instead of their own political views.
Respondents said to PBS News that the Associated Press and National Public Radio are “not biased at all” or “not very biased.” Respondents found sources like Fox News, CNN and Huffington Post as “biased” or “extremely biased,” all of which are privately funded organizations.
In an open-ended question format, respondents were asked to name fact-checking websites. Six out of ten who responded gave the name of a source and such as snopes.com and politifact.com as the most widely known websites.
Independent news sources follow strict standards to get the facts.
“As an independent news agency, AP goes to great lengths to report the news fairly, accurately and without bias,” said Lauren Easton, Director of Media Relations for the Associated Press. “Our journalists adhere to rigorous standards for accuracy and fairness, and are transparent about their reporting process and sources.”
In an article published by NPR, Sam Wineburg, a professor of education and history at Stanford University, said a solution for readers should be their own fact-checker of “fake news.”
Wineburg told NPR individuals can search for a lack of quoted information and verify sources.
They also gave an example of a to look out for false URL’s such as abcnews.com.co to imitate the legitimate news source of abcnews.com. These falsified sources often post articles looked to be accurate news however, share information that is inaccurate and biased.
Molly Redden, a senior reporter for the Huffington Post, said at a recent conference at BYU that journalists do see responses to articles they write. Journalists are not removed from what the public sees and that is an incentive for her to report facts.
The Knight Foundation’s study concluded, “Americans perceive a substantial amount of misinformation in the news environment, more so on social media than in traditional news media. The public believes that many of the common approaches to counteracting misinformation would help address the problem but would not be highly effective.”