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Monday, July 6, 2015

Survey: the Media, Bias, and the First Amendment

When asked to name the five specific freedoms in the First Amendment, 57% of Americans name freedom of speech, followed by 19% who say the freedom of religion, 10% mention the freedom of the press, 10% mention the right to assemble, and 2% name the right to petition. Thirty-three percent of Americans cannot name any of the rights
guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Over the past year, those naming freedom of speech decreased from 68 to 57%, freedom of religion decreased from 29 to 19%, and freedom of the press declined from 14 to 10%.
Only 24% now think that the news media try to report on news without bias. This represents a 17-point drop from last year and a 22-point drop from 2013. In fact, the 24% who now say the media try to report news without bias is the lowest since we began asking this question in 2004.
It appears that the negative news stories about such high profile news media personalities as suspended NBC news anchor Brian Williams, and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos have taken their toll on news media credibility among Americans. It is also possible that the public is reacting negatively to media coverage of the high profile events in Ferguson and Baltimore over the past year.
Notably, only 7% of 18-29 year olds agree that the media try to report without bias, compared to 13% of 30-49 year olds and 26% of those 50 or older. Also, Democrats (36%) are significantly more likely to think that the news media try to be unbiased than do either Republicans (19%) or independents (21%).

About half of respondents (51%) agree that the United States Constitution establishes a Christian nation. This figure has remained relatively consistent since it was first asked in the 2007 poll.
In the current poll, women (55%) are more likely than men (46%) to believe that America was created as a Christian nation. Also, those 50 or older (54%) are more likely to think that than their younger peers (37%).