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Fairness in the Media

Fairness in the Media

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Fairness in the Media

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  1. Fairness in the Media Presented to: Canadian Media Research Consortium October 2007

  2. Table of Contents Research Background & Objectives 2 Key Findings 4 Profile of Journalists & Members of Parliament 8 Attributes of Fair Journalism 16 Awareness of Journalistic Guide or Code of Standards 28 Proportion of News Stories Fairly Presented 31 Personal Encounters with Unfair Media Reporting 34 Canadian News Organizations 42 Influence of Political or Ideological Views on News Stories 46 Fair Media Reporting 52 Media Coverage and Criticism of Political Leaders 59 Influence of Outside Groups on Reporting 64 Knowledge of Journalists 78 Media in Canada & Democracy 83 Regional Viewpoints in National News Coverage 92

  3. Research Background & Methodology • POLLARA was commissioned by Andre Turcotte and the Canadian Media Research Consortium (CMRC) to conduct one-on-one telephone interviews with journalists and Members of Parliament on issues regarding fairness in the media. • Results are based on 64 one-on-one telephone interviews with Members of the Press Gallery in Ottawa, and 61 one-on-one telephone interviews with Members of Parliament. Interviews with journalists took place between March 21st and April 18th, 2007, while interviews with Members of Parliament took place between March 21st and June 13th, 2007. • Due to the small sample sizes and corresponding margins of error for both journalists (+/-12.4%) and Members of Parliament (+/-12.8%), it is important to interpret findings with caution. • Only statistically significant findings have been reported. • Where appropriate, results are compared to data obtained in a previous study – Views of the Public, 2003 Survey, commissioned by CMRC. • Please note, comparison, while informative and insightful, should be interpreted with caution as the methodologies, including sample size and sampling techniques, vary between studies.

  4. Research Background & Methodology • Frequencies have been reported for each question from the survey. Furthermore, each closed-ended question was cross-tabulated against the following variables to identify any differences. Where statistically significant, differences between segments have been reported throughout the report. • Years worked in politics (MPs) • Years in elective office (MPs) • Number of terms (MPs) • Years worked as a journalist (Journalists) • Medium journalist for (Journalists) • Aware of journalistic code • Age • Gender • Education • Language of interview • Province (MPs) • Canadian news organisations politically biased vs. careful that reporting is not biased (MPs) • Frequency that stories are influenced • Political views • Political Party (MPs)

  5. Key Findings

  6. Key Findings Fair Media Coverage: Consensus & Disagreement • Members of Parliament and journalists generally agree about what constitutes fair journalism. Asked in an open-ended question to identify the “attributes of fair journalism”, both MPs and journalists mentioned balance and getting both sides of the story most often (64% of MPs and 72% of journalists). • Also identified as important attributes by both groups were impartiality and open-mindedness (36% and 33%, respectively); accuracy (26% and 20%, respectively); well researched reports/well-informed reporters (20% and 19%, respectively); and honesty and truthfulness (15% and 13%, respectively). • Journalists place more importance on protecting the confidentiality of anonymous sources and questioning sources vigorously than do MPs. • Conversely, MPs view the protection of personal privacy of public figures, the avoidance of using unnamed sources, not reporting off-the-record conversations and avoiding the reporting of information obtained through the use of hidden cameras as more important than do journalists. Awareness of Guide or Code of Journalistic Standards • Awareness of a guide or code of journalistic standards is low among both journalists and MPs. Only one-in-two (50%) journalists are aware of such a guide, compared to one-in-four (23%) MPs. Of the journalists who are aware of a code or guide, less than two-in-five refer to it often (16%) or sometimes (22%).

  7. Key Findings Personal Encounters with Unfair Media Reporting • MPs are much more willing to discuss their personal encounters with unfair media reporting than are Members of the Press Gallery. Many MPs have had multiple encounters with what they perceive to be unfair media reporting, commenting on issues of unbalanced, one-sided reporting, comments being taken out of context, inappropriate “spinning” of the story, uninformed reporting with inaccurate information, and misleading headlines. MPs Critical of Canadian Media • Three-in-five (61%) MPs believe Canadian news organizations are generally politically biased in their reporting, while three-in-ten (30%) think Canadian news organizations are careful that their reporting is not politically biased. • The vast majority of MPs think reporters let their own political preferences influence the way they report the news often (43%) or sometimes (48%), compared to significantly fewer journalists who admit their own news stories are often (6%) or sometimes (27%) influenced. • Two-in-five (43%) MPs think that the media coverage of the personal and ethical behaviour of political leaders is excessive compared to only one-in-ten (11%) journalists. • Further, one-in-five (21%) MPs think the media criticism of the policies and proposals of political leaders is excessive, compared to one-in-twenty (5%) journalists.

  8. Key Findings Influence of Outside Groups & Corporate Control in the Media • One-in-two journalists (55%) and MPs (49%) think lobby groups influence the news. Journalists (27%) are more likely than MPs (16%) to think politicians and governments influence the news, while a similar proportion agree that public opinion (22% and 16%, respectively) and business and corporations (17% and 15%, respectively) have an impact. • Twice as many MPs (46%) as journalists (22%) think that the corporate control of the media often influences the particular news stories that are presented. Dissatisfaction with Variety of Regional Viewpoints in National News Media • Three-in-five MPs are either not very satisfied (43%) or not satisfied at all (18%) with the variety of regional viewpoints reported in the national news media, compared to less than one-in-two journalists (34% and 13%, respectively). • When asked about the differences between French and English news coverage, journalists and MPs identify French coverage as being more focused on the province of Quebec, while some, particularly MPs, consider English news media to focus more on national coverage. Other differences that journalists and MPs cite include French news coverage being more “aggressive”, “sensationalistic” and “animated”, while others think the subject matter covered by the two types of media varies.

  9. Profile of Journalists & Members of Parliament

  10. Type of Journalism Practiced • The vast majority of journalists indicate they practice “mostly news” (89%) journalism and only a few are “mostly commentary” journalists (5%). Q1: Could you please tell me which kind of journalism you practice?

  11. Journalism Medium • Two-in-three (66%) journalists say they report for print, while one-in-three (36%) identify television as their main medium. Roughly one-in-six (14%) are journalists report for radio, and 5% for the internet. Print Television Radio Internet Don’t Know/Refused Q2: Which medium are you a journalist for? (READ LIST; MULTIPLE MENTIONS ALLOWED)

  12. Organization of Journalists • Members of the Press Gallery who were interviewed for this study are journalists for 35 different organizations. One-in-ten (9%) journalists interviewed work for the Globe and Mail.

  13. Years Worked in Profession • On average, journalists have worked in their careers for 20 years, while MPs have worked in politics for 16 years. • The vast majority of journalists (77%) and MPs (59%) have been working in their careers for more thanten years. Q39J: How many years have you worked as a journalist? Q37MP: How many years have you worked in politics?

  14. Number of Years In Elective Office • On average, MPs have been in elective office for 9 years. Two-in-five (43%) say they have been in elective office for three years or less. • Two-in-five (38%) MPs have been in elective office for more than 10 years. Mean: 9.2 Q38MP: How many years have you been in elective office?

  15. Political Party Affiliation • Of those interviewed, 34% of MPs are Liberals, 30% are Conservatives, 20% are NDP, and 15% are Bloc Quebecois. House Composition 30% 36% 17% 10% 5% Liberals Conservatives NDP Bloc Quebecois Independents

  16. Language of Interview • Three-in-four journalists (78%) and MPs (75%) interviewed completed the survey in English, compared to one-four who completed the survey in French (22% and 25%, respectively).

  17. Attributes of Fair Journalism

  18. Volunteered Attributes of “Fair Journalism” • In general, journalists and MPs agree on what they consider to be the attributes of fair journalism, namely balance and getting to both sides of the story, being open-minded and impartial, being accurate, doing research and being informed, and being truthful and honest. Balance/Getting Both Sides Being Open-Minded/Impartial Accurate Do Research/Informed Being Truthful/Honest Desire Other Don’t Know/Refused Journalists Members of Parliament Q3: I’d like to talk to you about your perceptions of journalistic “fairness” in Canada. What do you consider to be attributes of “fair journalism”? (PROBE: Anything else?)

  19. Volunteered Attributes of “Fair Journalism”, by Age & Gender • Male journalists (80%) are more likely than their female counterparts (50%) to consider balance an attribute of “fair journalism”. • Among journalists, those 39 years of age and younger (39%) are more likely than older journalists to believe doing research and being informed are attributes of “fair journalism”.

  20. Volunteered Attributes of “Fair Journalism”, by Language of Interview • MPs (33%) and journalists (24%) who completed the interview in English are more likely than those who completed it in French (7%) to identify “accuracy” as an attribute of fair journalism.

  21. Volunteered Attributes of “Fair Journalism”, by Years Worked in Profession • MPs who have worked in politics for more than 20 years (62%) are more likely than MPs with less years of experience to view being open-minded and impartial as attributes of fair journalism. • Journalists with 20 years or less experience are more likely than their counterparts with more years of experience (4%) to consider doing research and being informed as attributes of fair journalism.

  22. Importance of Attributes in News Reports & Commentaries Journalists MPs Place information in context Journalists MPs Verify information before reporting it Journalists MPs Quote sources accurately Journalists MPs Include all the relevant facts Journalists MPs Protect the confidentiality of anonymous sources 1 of 3 VeryImportant SomewhatImportant Not VeryImportant Not ImportantAt All Don’t Know/Refused Q4-18: In evaluating fairness in journalism, how important to you is it that news reports and commentaries: (PROBE: Is that very or somewhat?) (READ AND ROTATE)

  23. Importance of Attributes in News Reports & Commentaries Avoid reporting accusationswithout giving accused opportunityto respond Journalists MPs Journalists MPs Question sources vigorously Journalists MPs Resist attempts by sources to“spin the story” Journalists MPs Avoid obvious partisanship or bias Journalists MPs Include all legitimate points of view 2 of 3 VeryImportant SomewhatImportant Not VeryImportant Not ImportantAt All Don’t Know/Refused Q4-18: In evaluating fairness in journalism, how important to you is it that news reports and commentaries: (PROBE: Is that very or somewhat?) (READ AND ROTATE)

  24. Importance of Attributes in News Reports & Commentaries Journalists MPs Represent the broader public interest Journalists MPs Never report off-the-record conversations Avoid reporting information obtained through the use of hidden cameras or tape recorders Journalists MPs Journalists MPs Respect the personal privacy of public figures Journalists MPs Avoid quoting an unnamed source 3 of 3 VeryImportant SomewhatImportant Not VeryImportant Not ImportantAt All Don’t Know/Refused Q4-18: In evaluating fairness in journalism, how important to you is it that news reports and commentaries: (PROBE: Is that very or somewhat?) (READ AND ROTATE)

  25. Importance of Attributes in News Reports & Commentaries Agreement Among Journalists & MPs • When evaluating fairness in journalism, almost all journalists and MPs interviewed agreed that it is very important that news reports and commentaries place information in context (98% and 95%, respectively), quote sources accurately (95% and 97%, respectively), and verify information before reporting it (97% and 98%, respectively). • Additionally, a similar proportion of journalists and MPs interviewed agreed that it is very important to include all relevant facts (88% and 82%, respectively), avoid reporting accusations without giving the accused an opportunity to respond (86% and 92%, respectively), resist attempts by sources to “spin the story” (81% and 75%, respectively), avoid obvious partisanship or bias (78% and 84%, respectively), include all legitimate points of view (72% and 67%, respectively), and represent the broader public interest (70% and 67%, respectively). Disagreement Among Journalists & MPs • Journalists are more likely than Members of Parliament to view protecting the confidentiality of anonymous sources (86% versus 57%) and questioning sources vigorously (83% versus 69%) as very important for news reports and commentaries. • Conversely, compared to journalists, a higher proportion of Members of Parliament view avoiding reporting information obtained through the use of hidden cameras or tape recorders (69% versus 44%) and never reporting off-the-record conversations (66% versus 44%) as very important. • Members of Parliament and journalists also place very different levels of importance on the issues of protecting personal privacy and the use of unnamed sources. Members of Parliament are three times more likely than journalists to view protecting the personal privacy of public figures (62% versus 19%) and the avoidance of quoting unnamed sources (51% versus 14%) as very important.

  26. Importance of Attributes in News Reports & Commentaries • When compared to data from the Views of the Public – 2003 Survey, MPs appear to have similar views about the use of hidden cameras or tape recorders in reporting as the public. Two-in-three (66%) respondents of the general public in this survey disapproved of the use of hidden cameras or tape recorders, while in this study, 69% of MPs said it is very important to avoid reporting information obtained through the use of hidden cameras or tape recorders. Only one-in-three (33%) journalists felt the same way. • Similarly, findings from the Views of the Public – 2003 Survey and thisstudy also indicate that MPs and the public are more closely aligned in their views of using unnamed sources than are journalists and the public. Specifically, in the 2003 study, 49% of the public disapproved of running stories that quote an unnamed source rather than giving the person’s name, and in this study, 51% of MPs think it is very important to avoid quoting an unnamed source. Only 14% of journalists said this was very important.

  27. Importance of Attributes in News Reports & Commentaries Percentage of MPs & Journalists who say …. is “very important”

  28. Importance of Attributes in News Reports & Commentaries Percentage of MPs & Journalists who say …. is “very important” Note: There are no significant differences in responses among journalists or MPs with regards to the importance of reporting information obtained through the use of hidden cameras or tape recorders, representing the broader public interest, protecting the confidentiality of anonymous sources, verifying information before reporting it, placing information in context, or quoting sources accurately.

  29. Awareness of Guide or Code of Journalistic Standards

  30. Awareness of Guide or Code of Journalistic Standards • Only one-in-two (50%) journalists are aware of a guide or journalistic code of standards, and one-in-three (36%) say they are not aware of such a code. • Seven-in-ten (70%) MPs are not aware of a code of journalistic standards. Q19: Are you aware of a guide or code of journalistic standards that outlines the definition of fairness and how it applies to media reporting?

  31. Awareness of Guide or Code of Journalistic Standards: Journalists • One-in-two (47%) journalists who are aware of a guide or code of journalistic standards say they seldom refer to it, and one-in-six (13%) report they never refer to it. Q19: Are you aware of a guide or code of journalistic standards that outlines the definition of fairness and how it applies to media reporting? Q20: (IF YES) How often do you refer to this guide or code of journalistic standards?

  32. Proportion of News Stories Fairly Presented

  33. Proportion of News Stories Fairly Presented • Journalists are more optimistic than MPs about the proportion of news stories in the Canadian media that present news in a fair way, with 44% of journalists saying most stories are presented in a fair way, compared to only 16% of MPs who say the same. • One-in-three (32%) MPs say less than half or not very many news stories in the Canadian media present the news in a fair way, compared to less than one-in-twenty (3%) journalists. Q21: What proportion of the news stories that you see in the Canadian media present the news in a fair way?

  34. Proportion of News Stories Fairly Presented,by MP’s View of Canadian News Organizations • Almost one-half (46%) of MPs who think Canadian news organizations are politically biased in their news reporting think that less than half (22%) or not very many (24%) news stories are fairly represented.

  35. Personal Encounters with Unfair Media Reporting

  36. Personal Accounts with Unfair Media Reporting Members of Parliament and journalists offered many different situation where they have personally encountered unfair media reporting. Specifically, 53 MPs offered a personal experience compared to 34 journalists interviewed. A variety of themes emerged from the responses, relating to such issues as unfair and unbalanced reporting, to misleading stories and false accusations. A summary of the findings follows. Unbalanced or One-Sided Reporting • A common theme emerging from the experiences of Members of Parliament related to their inability to respond to accusations made against them or simply not being asked to tell their side of the story. Many offered examples of times when they had been cited in news stories without being consulted to comment on particular events or issues. “I felt the journalist had printed information and comments by people that didn’t share my particular view without any opportunity for myself to respond and certainly I felt they didn’t accurately research the situation.” “I’ve been reported in stories without being given an opportunity to respond or give my side.” “There have been many times, for example, where an opponent has said something about my position but I wasn’t given the opportunity to respond to his allegations and claims.” “A journalist misrepresented the facts. He had written a story before he had talked to me and had misrepresented what I had said and he had drawn his own conclusions before he had even talked to me.” “I had stories written that attributed quotes to me that were inaccurate and I wasn’t asked to comment.” Q22: Please describe a situation in which you have personally encountered unfair media reporting. (PROBE: What specifically made this situation unfair?)

  37. Personal Accounts with Unfair Media Reporting • A few journalists also identified one-sided reporting. “A person reported on wasn’t given the opportunity to express his view on the story.” “Someone’s background was put on air, including his religious beliefs, but he wasn’t represented.” • One MP identified a time when his side of a particular story was presented only after he approached the journalist. However, he believed this is something most politicians experience. “In one instance, one side of the story came out. I talked to the reporter and had my side printed. Now, the truth is it came out of the editorial desk. It’s happened, and it’s happened to everybody on all sides of politics, I’m sure.” • Journalists also commented on unbalanced reporting in their accounts, especially when it comes to certain topic areas, including the environment and aboriginal issues. “Presenting only one view on stories. For example, the environment championing the views of environmental groups and dismissing opposing points of view.” “Almost any story involving government and aboriginal people. Too often journalists take the opinion of one aboriginal person and make it the opinion of all aboriginal people.” “Reporters have questioned me about my field, which happens to be religion and political reporting. I’ve provided this information to them. Editors made the decision not to include it. It would have made it more balanced in my point of view.” “I thought the coverage of Canada’s relation to the Tsunami […] because I think the government had good reasons not to send the DART Team. I don’t know if that side of the story was well reported.” Q22: Please describe a situation in which you have personally encountered unfair media reporting. (PROBE: What specifically made this situation unfair?)

  38. Personal Accounts with Unfair Media Reporting Context • Some MPs provided situations where comments they have made to journalists and reporters have been manipulated and taken out of context. “Quotes have been taken out of context.” “I have seen the reporting of a process unfairly reported when we were dealing with the environment. We had got through a process [but] journalists chose not to give context to the report and knowingly skewed the story.” “A recent newspaper article printed a story about a vote in parliament that was very skewed and took the vote totally out of context. [They] printed this very biased story when all they had to do was make one phone call.” “Spin” The Story • MPs also told of times when journalists and reporters had “spun” stories so as to embellish the facts. “I have always made it very clear that it is not so much the Wheat Board that I support, rather supporting the right of the farmers to make the choice of the future of the Wheat Board. The press always spins it as that I support the Wheat Board. Well, the truth is I support the farmers and they determine whether the Wheat Board should have a future or not. I guess that’s the media spin.” “Our local paper is very conservative and no matter what happens on a Liberal point of view or NDP announcement, it comes out as minor reporting on the back page, but when it comes to a Conservative candidate or the Prime Minister, it comes out very positive even if it is very negative. The spin on it is atrocious. That’s done on a weekly, if not daily, basis.” Q22: Please describe a situation in which you have personally encountered unfair media reporting. (PROBE: What specifically made this situation unfair?)

  39. Personal Accounts with Unfair Media Reporting • A few journalists also discussed the problems associated with “spinning” stories and the issues journalists decide to focus on. “Sometimes you’ll rush in a story before questioning spin or getting the other side of the story.” “The spin by reporters to increase their perceived importance. It is extremely biased.” “How the Canadian political media handled the Belinda Stronach story, and how she was very good looking.” “Coverage of Stockwell Day and his religious persuasion when he was leader of the Alliance in 2000 election.” Uninformed Reporting, Providing False & Inaccurate Information • Some MPs described situations where journalists wrote news stories about them, but with inaccurate or false information. “Matter of an inaccurate story caused a great deal of problems for me personally. It was reported on CBC that I was getting married but it wasn’t true. Damage was done.” “A story was published quoting me but the reporters had not even talked to me about it and what was unfair was that with the exception of one newspaper, no one else apologized to me about the inaccuracy of the article.” “An editorial in the National Post a couple of months ago the writer relied on secret so called anonymous sources and accused me of making political deals.” “Saying on air that I got surgery for cancer faster than someone else did whenin fact it was longer.” Q22: Please describe a situation in which you have personally encountered unfair media reporting. (PROBE: What specifically made this situation unfair?)

  40. Personal Accounts with Unfair Media Reporting • Journalists also offered instances where reporters have provided false information in their reporting. “The Maher Arar case – it was government leaked information that defamed the reputation of an innocent man.” “National Post reported that the Iranian government had introduced a law to force the Jews to wear a badge. It was wrong and a bit of a scandal.” Not Attributing Quotes • A few MPs revealed that they or their party have raised issues or provided information to journalists or in the House of Commons, but by the time the information is transformed into a news story, their names are not attributed to the views expressed. “In many instances the NDP raises the issues prior to somebody else speaking on them and yet we don’t get any recognition. For instance, when John Baird spoke to the C30 panel, I asked a series of questions. When the CBC reported on it that night, the reporter took those questions and comments and made them into a commentary that he ascribed to himself. Sometimes when you are not a national figure, people will take what you say and use it themselves without recognizing the source.” “I often get interviewed by some of the print media on a story. They use the content, but not the quotes. They take the angle in the story from our information and discussion, and then no longer attribute any quotes to myself or to my staff.” Q22: Please describe a situation in which you have personally encountered unfair media reporting. (PROBE: What specifically made this situation unfair?)

  41. Personal Accounts with Unfair Media Reporting Off-the-Cuff Comments Reported On: Unfair & Unprofessional • A few MPs explained that they had made off-the-cuff comments to journalists who later went on to report these comments. These MPs felt as though they had been betrayed, and described the experiences as “unfair and unprofessional” on the part of the journalists. “During the party convention, I told the reporter that I didn’t think a certain candidate would win the leadership. I thought it was an off-the-cuff statement but it was printed and the candidate felt betrayed and I thought it was very unfair and unprofessional of the reporter.” “I was coming home from the office when I met this neighbour who is a journalist and he asked me about something that was happening in Parliament. I answered him as you would a friend and neighbour in a casual, candid and funny manner. I never dreamed that he would quote me word for word and publish the article the next day in the newspaper. That to me was both unfair and unprofessional. I am delighted to report that a few years later the same thing happened to him in a letter in the Globe & Mail.” Q22: Please describe a situation in which you have personally encountered unfair media reporting. (PROBE: What specifically made this situation unfair?)

  42. Personal Accounts with Unfair Media Reporting • A few journalists also recalled situations in which people were quoted in a story without knowing that this was the reporter’s intent. “A story with a quote or a video with somebody that didn’t really know they were going to be used in the story.” “A politician was talking in a media room and it was quoted. It was a little unfair – she wasn’t in a position where you normally think she’d be quoted.” • One journalists cited a time when he was personally blamed for unfair reporting. “A story that I did – I ended up being on the receiving end as incompetent and reporting unfairly.” Misleading Headlines • A few MPs identified times when the news stories that have been written about them have not necessarily been the problem, but rather the headlines. In these cases, the headlines have been “misleading” and “harmful”, according to these MPs interviewed. “I was asked if I had voted in a previous election. I said I didn’t remember, but I didn’t think I had voted at all. The next day headline: “Minister Can’t Remember If She Voted Twice in the Election”. I never said that…I objected to it because I had my own tape of what I had said and the radio at CBC corrected the story. The paper never did – they refused.” “Well I certainly had a story about me where I thought the headline was incredibly unfair and misleading. The story was alright, but the headline was incredibly harmful and misleading.” Q22: Please describe a situation in which you have personally encountered unfair media reporting. (PROBE: What specifically made this situation unfair?)

  43. Canadian News Organizations

  44. Phrase That Best Describes Canadian News Organizations Generally • Two-in-three (61%) MPs agree that Canadian news organizations are generally politically biased in their reporting, while three-in-ten (30%) say Canadian news organizations are careful that their reporting is not politically biased. Q20MP: Please tell me which one of these phrases you feel best describes Canadian news organizations generally: (READ AND ROTATE)

  45. Phrase That Best Describes Canadian News Organizations Generally, by Language of Interview • MPs who completed the interview in English (72%) are significantly more likely than those who completed it in French (27%) to believe that Canadian news organizations are generally politically biased in their reporting.

  46. Phrase That Best Describes Canadian News Organizations Generally,by Frequency of Stories Influenced • MPs who believe news stories are often influenced by the political preferences of reporters are also most likely to believe that Canadian news organizations are politically biased in their reporting (88%) .

  47. Influence of Political or Ideological Views on News Stories

  48. Frequency of News Stories Influenced by Political or Ideological Views • One-in-four (27%) journalists indicate that their news stories are sometimes influenced by their own ideological or political views, and one-in twenty (6%) say their stories are often influenced by their views. The vast majority of MPs, however, believe that reporters let their own political preferences influence the way they report the news often (43%) or sometimes (48%). • Compared to the 2003 Views of the Public Survey, MPs and the public have similar views about the extent to which reporters let their own political preferences influence the way they report the news. Q23J: How often, if at all, are your news stories influenced by your own ideological or political views? Q21MP. How often do you think reporters let their own political preferences influence the way they report the news? Is it...? (READ LIST)

  49. Frequency of News Stories Influenced by Political or Ideological Views, by MP’s View of Canadian News Organizations • Two-thirds (62%) of MPs who think that Canadian news organizations are politically biased in their reporting think that reporters often let their own political preferences influence the way they report the news (versus only 11% of those who think Canadian news organizations are not politically biased).

  50. Reasons Why Personal News Stories Are “Often” or “Sometimes” Influenced by Own Political or Ideological Views • The main reason for why journalists say their stories are often (6%) or sometimes (27%) influenced by their own political views is because of their inability to remain completely objective when reporting on issues on which they have opinions and views. Some of the verbatim responses offered include: New Stories Often Influenced “I don’t think you can write without being influenced by your ideological point of view.” “It is impossible for my views not to be in the story.” “They are. It is unavoidable. If not directly, at least the way you phrase yourself in your writing.” News Stories Sometimes Influenced “You can’t help it. You don’t do it on purpose.” “If I’m writing, personal bias comes into it. I can’t help that. It is inescapable, otherwise you’d be a tape recorder.” “It is human nature. I don’t think anyone can be completely objective.” “I’ve got views, and when I’m writing, it is inevitably influenced. You try to be fair.” “I don’t think you can separate them out. The point is to be fair and balanced.” “Sometimes it is inevitable. You’re human.” “I don’t think it is possible to write without your views impacting the story.” Q23J: How often, if at all, are your news stories influenced by your own ideological or political views? Q24J. Why do you say that?