In the present fast-moving era of complex information environment, news consumers must make quick judgments regarding news-related statements that often come in bits and pieces with very little context.
A new Pew Research Center survey carried out among 5,035 U.S. adults tried to find out whether members of the public can identify news as factual or as an opinion of the person who expressed it.
The findings of the survey, conducted between Feb. 22 and March 8, 2018, reveal that it is a challenge. The study measured the ability of the respondents in distinguishing between five factual statements and five opinion statements.
The majority of Americans correctly identified three of the five statements in each set. Fewer Americans identified all five correct, and about a quarter got all wrong. The survey found that Americans with high political awareness (36 percent), digitally savvy (44 percent) and those who have high level of trust in news media were better in analyzing the contents and accurately differentiated news-related statements as factual or opinion.
Though political awareness and digital savviness are related to education in predictable ways, these relationships persist even when accounting for an individual’s education level.
Mitchell; Amy, Gottfried; Jeffrey, Barthel; Michael & Sumida; Nami: Pew Research Institute.