Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Poll finds that rural Americans feel disrespected by the news media, more so than other citizens

A new poll finds that 60 percent of rural Americans think the news media respect them "only a little" or "not at all."

The Survey of Rural America, conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation and The Washington Post, also found that "among those who answered this way and said they voted for president in 2016, 71 percent said they chose Donald Trump," Richard Prince notes in his "Journal-isms" column.

The feelings of disrespect were less among urbanites and subuirbanites, 51 and 52 percent, respectively. The poll also found that 54 percent of rural residents approve of the way Trump is doing his job. The survey results didn't surprise leaders of two news industry organizations Prince contatcted.

Mizell Stewart III, vice president of the USA Today Network and president of the American Society of News Editors, told Prince, "I live in Ohio and work in and around Washington, so I literally spend time in both worlds. Because of that, the results of the study are not terribly surprising, particularly when people conflate ‘news media’ with national television networks, 24-hour news channels and major newspapers such as The New York Times and The Washington Post. The bubble in and around the Beltway is real, and it takes true effort to look at the world beyond the Northeast corridor and provide nuanced coverage of the attitudes of and the issues facing rural Americans."

Mike Cavender, founder and executive director of the Radio Television Digital News Association, told Prince, "In some respects, they are positing a 'forgotten' mentality. They may feel that the media doesn’t see them or their views and concerns as important because of where they live or who they are. However, I believe that’s an ill-placed concern. I do believe, though, that media outlets need to do a better job in representing rural Americans' viewpoints by spending more time and resources in the areas of the country where they live. It is far too easy for editors, producers and news executives based in NYC and other major media centers to believe they are representing these divergent points of view from their urban bureaus rather than getting their staffs outside of the Beltway or the NYC corridor to do some actual on-the-ground reporting. We desperately need to improve in that arena . . . and Americans are making it clear we need to do so. Trump didn’t create the rural/urban divide . . . but he successfully exploited it and the media has been one of the primary targets of that exploitation."

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