Is the US doomed?

A new Pew Research Center Poll was published this week  concerning the impact of the news media and colleges/universities on society and I’m not entirely sure why I’m surprised by the results, but I am.

“A majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (58%) now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country, up from 45% last year.”

The poll goes on to say:

As recently as two years ago, most Republicans/Republican leaners held a positive view of the role of colleges and universities. In September 2015, 54% of Republicans said colleges and universities had a positive impact on the way things were going in the country; 37% rated their impact negatively”

By 2016, Republicans’ ratings of colleges and universities were mixed (43% positive, 45% negative).

Now, nearly two-thirds of conservative Republicans (65%) say colleges are having a negative impact, compared with just 43% of moderate and liberal Republicans.

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I’m really curious as to why the increase has been so drastic in such little time. I’m in no way an advocate of everyone going to college. I don’t believe you HAVE to go to college to be successful. Hell, I’m a college graduate (in debt) who’s working at a job that doesn’t require a degree. College isn’t for everybody (and it’s way too expensive), but I’d never say that it’s having a negative impact on society. I think that doctors, engineers, etc and their college degrees are positively impacting society. If we’re talking in terms of personal debt, then I could see viewing it in a negative light, but what other possible reasons are there?

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The other information that surprised me in this poll is how distrusting everyone has become of the media.

Democrats are divided in their views of the effects of the national news media. Nearly half of Democrats/Democratic leaners say the news media has a negative impact on the country (46%) while about as many (44%) view its impact positively.

This marks a major shift from just a year ago, when 33% of Democrats said the national news media had a positive effect and 59% said  it had a negative effect.

Currently, 85% of Republicans/Republican leaners say the news media has a negative effect on the way things are going in the country, up 76% two years ago and 68% in 2010. 

As a person who went to college for journalism, this is hard to hear. Yes, it’s absolutely true that most news sources have some level of bias and it’s fair to question what you hear instead of blindly believing it, but it’s not hard to find relatively unbiased sources.

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This is a pretty basic summary that can be found with a simple Google search

NPR, BBC, AP, Reuters and FactCheck  are my go-to sites to check the information I’ve heard from mainstream media.

Please, instead of accepting what you hear from the president/Twitter trolls about the media being liars and “fake news” (which honestly, Repub distrust being up 76% from two years ago has to be majorly influenced by that), don’t just decide to be distrusting of all media. Do some work and find whatever unbiased source satisfies you. They are out there.

Why do you think Republicans’ views on colleges/universities has become so negative in such a short amount of time? What are your views on college? What about mainstream media? Do you trust it? What are your favorite news sources?

 

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2 thoughts on “Is the US doomed?”

  1. I’ve been considering different hypotheses on what is going on. One hypothesis is the negative one, that right-wing media has turned on colleges and has turned normal people against them. One is a bit more neutral. It’s possible that right-wing feel disappointed by college economically more than left wing, and that they are realizing it doesn’t return what it should on investment. However, if that were true, there should be a greater statistical drop among 18-29 and those who are in college. The third is that now, right-wing feel locked out of college ideologically, and that they must conform to left-wing views regardless of major choice. In other words, a very kind interpretation is that conservatives didn’t change, colleges did.

    Much as I dislike to, I’m leaning towards the first, the negative one, as being most true.

    1. Those are all very good interpretations. I think it’s definitely a mix of all three. One of the major complaints I’ve seen (online, so this is a little biased) is that colleges are too liberal and a lot of right-winged people don’t feel that they belong. I think that maybe that’s also a complaint outside of college campuses and in society (in some cities, at least) in general, but I digress.

      I’ve certainly contemplated the return on investment it’s given me personally and questioned if it has been worth it, but I am not sure how a whole, large group of people can consider it a negative based on ROE. Are these people picking the wrong majors? Or going to college for the wrong reasons? Who knows.

      It is interesting that the change has come in such a short amount of time. I’m interested to see how this plays out. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment!

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