How do People Want the Media to Cover Politics?

As the structure of the media environment has changed in recent years, so has the link between politics and journalism. the expansion of platforms like social media and video sites implies that politicians can now communicate with the general public more directly. this permits politicians to largely sidestep media scrutiny – the worth they accustomed should pay to urge their message across – arguably shifting the balance of power, giving politicians the arrogance to bend the foundations that accustomed govern their relationship with the media.

Of course, much remains identical, but there’s also a way that the fourth estate is struggling to adapt to the current new world, and should not always be as capable of holding politicians to account at a time once they have less control over what eventually reaches the general public.

The general public thinks journalists should report false statements from politicians whether or not it gives them unwarranted attention, and the majority think that platforms should block political adverts that contain inaccuracies whether or not it ultimately means the platforms become the arbiters of truth. However, whether or not people think political parties should be allowed to advertise on platforms in the first place seems to rely upon these rules governing political advertising on television.

Most of the time, and in most countries, there’s a consensus on these issues that stretches across the left-right political spectrum. But we see different views after we observe people with different levels of interest in politics – with the foremost interesting tending to prefer more open political communication environments that reflect the established order.

Some worry that repeating false statements – whether or not they’re fact-checked and clearly labeled per se – still gives politicians the eye they crave. In March 2020, some US media pundits similarly questioned whether it had been right to measure broadcast President Trump’s COVID-19 press conferences as long as they may contain misinformation about the virus. On the opposite hand, some might argue that news organizations have an obligation to report what politicians have said, no matter whether it’s true or false.

And it’s this, it seems, that comes closer to what the majority would favor. In almost every market, people say that, when the media should handle an announcement from a political candidate that might be false, they’d prefer them to ‘report the statement prominently because it’s important for the general public to understand what the politician said’ instead of ‘not emphasize the statement because it’d give the politician unwarranted attention’.

In Sweden, where the difference is incredibly large, 62% of individuals would favor the statement to be reported prominently, compared to only 10% who think the statement should be downplayed. We see the identical pattern within the US and therefore the UK, and indeed, in most other markets.


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