Consumers blame media for hyping financial crisis

NEW YORK: More than three-quarters of consumers believe that the media's coverage of the economic downturn has increased fear among the public and magnified the market's difficulties, according to a Zogby International poll commissioned by the Independent Film Channel (IFC).

NEW YORK: More than three-quarters (76%) of consumers believe that the media's coverage of the economic downturn has increased fear among the public and magnified the market's difficulties, according to a Zogby International poll commissioned by the Independent Film Channel (IFC).

More than half (53%) of respondents said that journalists can be impartial while covering economic conditions if they are also affected, while 41% said they cannot. Six percent were unsure. Thirty-two percent believe that the media in other countries report on the economy as much as US media outlets do.

John Zogby, president and CEO of Zogby International, said he was somewhat surprised by the public's attitude toward the financial media.

"The coverage of the economy was, to a great degree, driven by the public, who were experiencing it long before the financial crisis hit," he said.

The survey also asked consumers to weigh in on the future of news media and whether or not they would watch Al Jazeera. Nearly six in 10 (58%) said newspapers are going out of business due to free access to news over the Internet, and 29% said they would watch Al Jazeera if available.

Zogby conducted 1,077 interviews with US adults for the survey between April 16 and April 20.

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