Media Making Economic Crisis Worse :Opinion Research Corporation Poll

An overwhelming 77 percent of Americans believe that the US media is making the economic situation worse by projecting fear into people’s minds. The majority of those surveyed feel that the financial press, by focusing on and embellishing negative news, is damaging consumer confidence and damping investment, making a difficult situation much worse.

Richard L. Scheff, a national expert on corporate liability and white collar crime issues, warns media that they could potentially be exposed to liability despite apparent constitutional protections:

“Although statements by the media are protected by the First Amendment, the survey results demonstrate that the public believes that the press bears some responsibility for the lack of confidence in the economy. One would hope that these media would act less out of self-interest in these times of national crisis. I could see creative lawyers attempting to pierce constitutional protections by constructing theories of liability for losses they may allege were driven by irresponsible news releases,” said Mr. Scheff, vice chairman and partner with Philadelphia-based law firm Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads.

The US survey of 1000 adults was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, on behalf of Park Lane Communications, and is statistically representative of the total U.S. population. The survey question asked was: “Do you think the financial press is making the economic crisis worse by projecting fear into people’s minds?” While the overall response indicated that 77% of Americans answered YES, here are some highlights of note:

Household Incomes:
$25k – $35k – 79% answered YES
$35k – $50k – 88% answered YES
$50k – $75k – 76% answered YES
$75k – more – 78% answered YES

85% of young adults (18-24 yrs old) answered YES
77% of males and females alike answered YES
65% of blacks answered YES

Founded in 1938, Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) is a leading global market research firm with offices across the U.S., Europe and Asia Pacific region. ORC helps clients achieve success within their markets and with their customers, employees and other stakeholders by providing fact-based, action-oriented intelligence and advice. ORC is known as a leader in providing both custom and omnibus research and is the official partner of CNN for the CNN/Opinion Research Poll(R).

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