Eighty percent of Internet users believe that the coverage of African Americans in the news is “negative,” according to a recent TheLoop21.com poll.
Hundreds of Internet readers at TheLoop21.com participated in the “Truth in Media” audience poll, which measured the public’s opinions on how news coverage by the mainstream media affects racial perceptions. Nearly 90%, of the respondents do not think the mainstream news is “fair and balanced” in its coverage of African Americans.
“That is a very serious indictment of mainstream media and one that the media ought to take…and we ought to take very seriously going forward,” said Darrell Williams, publisher of TheLoop21.com.
More than 55% of respondents said that mainstream media’s coverage of racial issues during the past 12 months had “worsened” race relations.
In addition, the majority of respondents indicated that more reporting on “the achievements by African Americans” and “economic issues that affect African Americans” would cause them to spend more time watching, listening, and reading the news.
Turning the tide on negative coverage will need a two-prong strategy, says David Wilson, a pollster for TheLoop21.com and professor of political science at the University of Delaware. First, an increase in diversity of not only race but of perspectives in the newsroom will help increase fair and balanced coverage of all races. Next, he says audiences need to speak up.
“If they feel like the coverage is stereotypical and promoting negative images let it be known,” said Wilson. “Write a letter to the news channel.”
Nearly 82% of the approximately 400 respondents were black, and the majority of respondents were college graduates. The Truth in Media poll was conducted by TheLoop21.com from Feb. 24 to March 5.