Survey: Americans struggle to navigate the modern media landscape

Americans are also more likely to say it is hard to sort out the facts in news reporting than they were in the past. Fifty percent of U.S. adults believe that, despite some media bias, enough news sources exist to allow people to sort out the facts, whereas 47% say there is so much bias it is often difficult to determine what is true. Americans’ confidence that people can discern the truth is down from 66% in a 1984 mail survey conducted by MORI Research for the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

The trend toward Americans’ saying it is harder to sort out the facts is consistent with their increased perceptions of news media bias.

Seventy-two percent of Democrats, compared with 46% of independents and 31% of Republicans, are confident that enough sources exist for people to discern the facts. Education also makes a difference in perceived ability to navigate political bias in the media. Those with a postgraduate education are most likely to say enough sources exist to allow people to sort out the facts (61%), followed by college graduates (52%) and those with less than a college degree (47%).