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7/16/2007
08:40 PM
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Old Media More Trusted Than New When It Comes To Politics

About three-quarters of people surveyed last month said they look to mainstream media, rather than the Internet, for political information.

The mainstream media is still more trusted than social networking sites, video sites, and blogs for political news, according to research released Monday.

Some 72% of 383 people surveyed last month said they looked primarily to the mainstream media for political information, according to research released Monday by market research firms Nucleus Research and KnowledgeStorm. More than 56% of survey respondents cited newspapers and magazines as the sources that they trust the most when seeking political information.

"People didn't trust what they found on the Internet," said Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research for Nucleus Research.

For all the publicity lavished on MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube, Wettemann said that people trust the mainstream media more than five times as much as other online information sources.

"The Internet has changed traditional media by providing more rapid access to information -- but, at the same time, has reduced the editing and vetting process still followed by more traditional news sources," the survey says. "While many candidates have rushed to establish their Web presence, and traditional media outlets have tried to close the gap with their own Internet sites, when it comes to believability traditional sources still hold the most weight."

According to the survey, fewer than 5% of respondents look to YouTube for political information, only 19% make use of candidate Web sites, and only 14% make uses of political parties' Web sites. The survey also found that some 18% of respondents get their information from alternative sources like The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.

The message for political candidates, said Wettemann, is not to ignore traditional media.

Cheryl Gutowski, analyst at Nucleus Research, put it this way: "The bottom-line question is: Are Barack Obama's 97,954 Facebook 'friends' going to help him secure the swing vote and defeat Hillary Clinton? We believe absolutely not."

But the two media are mixing. A Democratic presidential debate scheduled for July 23 will be hosted by YouTube and CNN. "It didn't make sense to keep covering politics in the same old way," said Jonathan Klein, president of CNN.

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