Survey: Fox most uncivil, PBS most civil news organization

Civility in America (PDF)

An online survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted in April found that 62 percent consider the media uncivil.

While this is considerably lower than last year’s incivility rating of 74%, it ranks among the top five most uncivil aspects of American life. A contributing reason to that perception may be that the vast majority of Americans agree that the media is more interested in controversy than facts (82%).

Cable channels were viewed as more uncivil than broadcast networks, and PBS was considered most civil.

"Americans tend to rate the civility levels of similar TV outlets alike -- cable news channels such as Fox News, MSNBC and CNN are perceived similarly as are broadcast news networks such as NBC News, ABC News and CBS News," says the report.

These perceptions are affecting whether people consume news, according to the survey.

Slightly less than one-half are avoiding op-eds and editorials (49%) and news coverage and reporting (45%) this year. Interestingly, the tune out rate this year is significantly lower than it was last year for politics (58% vs. 67%, respectively), government (55% vs. 62%) and news coverage and reporting (45% vs. 55%).

More than one-third of adults surveyed say they are tuning out of Twitter because of incivility.

There is some good news for at least two news organizations -- Fewer adults believe Fox News and MSNBC are very or somewhat uncivil than did last year.

Fox News and MSNBC are perceived as more civil this year than they were last year.

The research was conducted by Weber Shandwick, Powell Tate and KRC Research.


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