Poll: Half of Americans Think Media Are Exaggerating Threat of Coronavirus

A clinician prepares a dose of a Moderna Covid-19 booster vaccine at a temporary vaccination centre set up inside St John's Church in west London on December 4, 2021. - Britain, which has been among the hardest hit by Covid-19 with more than 145,000 deaths, is racing to offer third …
DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images

A majority of Americans think the media are exaggerating the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, and less than half think the media are reporting accurately about the safety of vaccines, a Rasmussen poll released on Friday found. 

According to the survey, which was conducted with 1,000 U.S. adults between Jan. 18-19, 50 percent of Americans think the media have exaggerated the threat of coronavirus, up from 44 percent in July. A little over a third (38 percent) think the coverage is accurate, and 12 percent are unsure. The margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

Less than half of Americans — 40 percent — think the media are “reporting accurately about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines,” which is down from 46 percent in July. Forty-five percent think reporting on the vaccines is not accurate — up from 38 percent in July, and 16 percent of those polled are unsure.

Only 10 percent of American adults rate media coverage of coronavirus as “excellent,” and only one in four rate it as “good.”

“That’s a decline in approval from July, when 42 percent rated the media’s coverage of the pandemic excellent or good. The number who say the media is doing a poor job is now 40 percent, up from 29 percent in July,” the survey found. 

Democrats (55 percent) are more likely than Republicans (20 percent) and unaffiliated voters (27 percent) to approve of the media’s coverage of the pandemic as “excellent” or “good.” Instead, 53 percent of Republicans  and 48 percent of unaffiliated voters rate coverage as “poor.”

Republicans (67 percent)  and unaffiliated voters (54 percent) are also more likely than Democrats (31 percent) to think the media have “exaggerated the threat of coronavirus.”

“And significantly more Republicans (65 percent) than unaffiliateds (49 percent) or Democrats (23 percent) think the media are not reporting accurately about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines,” according to the report. 

Out of those who believe the media have exaggerated the threat, 70 percent believe reporting on the safety and effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines has been inaccurate.


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