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Americans' Confidence In Military And Media Falling: Poll

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Washington (AFP) Aug 24, 2005
A new poll made public Wednesday has found a sharp decline in US public confidence that the military and the media are keeping them sufficiently informed on military and national security issues.

The McCormick Tribune Foundation/Gallup poll, which compared public attitudes today with the results of a 1999 survey, found Americans more interested in military and national security news today than six years ago.

But only 54 percent of Americans said the military keeps them well informed, down from 77 percent in 1999, according to the poll results.

Similarly only 61 percent felt the media keeps them well informed on those issues, down from 79 percent six years ago.

"This survey underscores how major events over the past six years have created a dramatic shift in the type of information Americans want and how they receive it," said retired general David Grange, executive vice president of the McCormick Tribune Foundation.

Sixty percent of those surveyed said they did not receive enough information to make informed judgements on military matters.

News coverage on the reasons for going to war in Iraq received low marks.

Of those surveyed, 68 percent said the government had done "only (a) fair" or "poor" job of informing the public on the reasons for going to war. Sixty one percent gave the media a "fair" or "poor" rating.

Moreover, 77 percent of those surveyed felt the military occasionally gives the media false or inaccurate information.

More than half those surveyed (58 percent) said it was important that reporters go to combat zones to provide independent information.

The same percentage said the use of unnamed sources made news stories less believable, but 35 percent said anonymous sourcing had no effect on their judgement of a story.

The number of parents who said they would encourage their children to pursue a military career dropped from 71 percent in 1999 to 62 percent. Those who would encourage their children's interest in journalism also dropped, from 85 percent to 80 percent.

The poll, which surveyed 1,016 adults, had a margin of error of plus or minus four percent. The poll was conducted between May 31 and June 16.

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