Two-Thirds of Canadians on the Right of the Political Spectrum Think the Media Doesn’t Provide Fair Coverage: Poll
According to a recent poll, two-thirds of Canadians on the right of the political spectrum say that most news stories cover their beliefs unfairly, while less than a quarter of Canadians on the left of this spectrum say the same.
The poll also found that two-thirds of right-wing Canadians say they don’t trust most stories in the news, while only a fifth of left-leaning Canadians say the same.
The pollpublished by the Angus Reid Institute (ARI) on June 9, asked the opinion of 4,000 Canadian adults on nine questions that represent competing perspectives on social values, the media and the justice system.
The public opinion think tank created a Canadian Values Index (CVI) to score respondents based on their answers to these questions, sorting them into four groups of roughly equal size across the spectrum. Progressive Conservative: left (27% of the sample), centre-left (25%), centre-right (24%) and right (23%).
“A common criticism of the news media is whether or not they fairly represent all segments of the population,” ARI said. “You can see that those in the center right and right of the index are much more likely to say that the stories they care about aren’t told and aren’t represented.”
While overall two in five Canadians (39%) believe that the media covers their political beliefs unfairly, two-thirds (67%) of those on the right-wing say that the Canadian media has presented their political beliefs in an unfair way. unfair, and two in five (39%) in the centre-right group say the same. On the other hand, only 29% on the center-left and 23% on the left say so.
When it comes to trust in the media, two-thirds (67%) of people in the right segment say they don’t trust most stories reported by Canadian media — triple the proportion of those in the left segment (20%) who say the same. For those in the center-right, 41% say they don’t trust the media, while 33% of those in the center-left say so.
Overall, more than a third (39 per cent) of Canadians, a significant proportion, say most stories in the news are not trustworthy. This figure rises to 47% among young Canadians aged 18 to 34. Women over the age of 54 have the greatest confidence in Canadian media, with 74% saying news outlets do a good job of reporting the facts.
The survey also revealed that Canadians have considerable doubts about their compatriots’ ability to tell fact from fiction. Nine in ten (91%) say they are worried that other people in the country don’t have this ability in an increasingly online environment.
Notably, the poll found that seven in ten Canadians (70%) say facts are real, established ideas or concepts that cannot be disputed, while the rest believe facts are subjective and therefore may be real to one person and not for another. .
When asked what is expected of current affairs reporting, a large majority (84%) of respondents said that reporting on social and political issues should reflect a range of viewpoints and that the media information should let viewers decide what is true. Meanwhile, just 7% said news outlets should use their own judgment and advocate views they believe are more beneficial to the public.
“Canada is made up of a myriad of viewpoints, and 84% of Canadians say the news media should reflect a range of different viewpoints and let viewers decide what is of value” , says the poll.
“Perhaps the significant lack of trust among Canadians is due to a disconnect between expectations of what the news should be and how they perceive the news reported to them.”
The ARI said this perspective on the role of the news media is “nearly uniform” across all CVI groups. The proportion who think the media should provide opposing viewpoints rather than conveying their own judgment ranges from four in five (82%) among those in the left, centre-left and centre-right groups to nine in ten (88%) of those in the right segment.
The think tank also said the survey helps describe how Canadian values may change over a five-year period. Comparing this latest survey with the one conducted in 2016, the ARI said “it is evident that a noticeable change has taken place”.
Examples can be seen in other questions asked, such as an increase in the proportion of Canadians who prefer “more public support for disadvantaged people”, which increased from 51% in 2016 to 57% in 2022. The proportion of Canadians who prefer a system that “rewards hard work and initiative,” on the other hand, fell from 49% in 2016 to 43% this year.
The ARI survey was conducted online from November 8-15, 2021 among a representative random sample of 4,000 Canadian adult members of the Angus Reid Forum. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.