- The Washington Times - Monday, April 29, 2002

Americans aren't the only ones who get piqued at their press.
British newspapers a motley assortment of staid broadsheets and slavering tabloids have received a black eye from their readerships. They are the least trusted in Europe, according to new findings released Friday.
The Eurobarometer, an annual survey of 15,000 people across the European Union, found that British papers were only trusted by a "dismal" 20 percent of the population less than half the European average of 46 percent.
The British press realm encompasses about 600 local and regional newspapers, including the world's oldest broadsheet, the Times of London. Britons are also voracious readers, with almost half reading a newspaper every day.
But the British press must be doing something right, since last year's survey found that an even lower 15 percent of the population trusted their newspapers.
Elsewhere in Europe, the Italian press was runner-up for the "least-trusted" title, with 39 percent.
Belgian newspapers were deemed the most dependable, trusted by 60 percent. Newspapers in Finland and Luxembourg were next at 58 percent each, followed by those in the Netherlands (57 percent). Newspapers in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria, France and Portugual had ratings ranging from 43 to 55 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, a separate survey taken in January by ROMIR the Russian arm of the Gallup poll found that 41 percent of Russians trusted their news organizations.
While the overall image of the American news media has improved since September 11, old annoyances persist, according to three polls released in mid-April.
A Fox News poll found that only 15 percent of us trust the news media "a great deal." Forty nine percent said they trust it "some." The poll also found that 30 percent felt the press is biased to liberals, 16 percent said conservatives have the upper hand and 30 percent felt reporting is "balanced."
A Harris poll revealed that almost three-quarters of us thought journalists were too big for their proverbial britches. Seventy-two percent said the press had "too much power and influence in Washington." The poll also found that only 16 percent said they had "a great deal" of confidence in the press; 51 percent said they had "only some."
Meanwhile, an NBC/Wall Street Journal survey found that 13 percent of those polled had a "great deal" of confidence in the national news media; 39 percent said they had "some" confidence in it.
Both European and American polls found that TV news has emerged as the mode of choice in news hungry societies.
The Eurobarometer found that viewers' trust level for TV news ranged from a low of 48 percent in Greece and Italy to a high of 78 percent in Ireland and Portugal. Over 71 percent of British viewers said they trusted their broadcast media.
In the United States, the Harris poll found 24 percent trusted TV news "a great deal." Fifty three percent said that had "only some" confidence, while 22 percent said they had "hardly any."
But they are watching.
A Pew Research Center poll released in late February found that 82 percent of respondents got their national and international news from TV, with most preferring cable news channels. Newspapers were next at 42 percent, followed by radio (21 percent), the Internet (14 percent) and magazines (3 percent.)

Contact Jennifer Harper at [email protected] or 202/636-3085.

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