October 15, 1986

The People and the Press, Part 2

Terrorism and News Leaks

Report Summary

“People and the Press” is a comprehensive investigation into public attitudes toward the press conducted by the Gallup Organization, Inc. on behalf of Times Mirror.  part 2 in the series, reported herein, presents findings about two current news media issues:  terrorism and news leaks.  In addition, general press opinion in America is tracked from the measurements taken in 1985.  The objectives of the “People and the Press, part 2″ survey were as follows:

—  To reexamine the public’s general opinions about the press in order to track those attitudes through time.

—  To determine the level of satisfaction, and the degree of favorability toward press coverage of terrorist incidents.

—  To measure perceived performance ratings for news organizations’ coverage of terrorist incidents.

—  To identify perceived effects of news organizations’ coverage of terrorist incidents.

—  To measure the salience of and knowledge about news leaks.

—  To determine public attitudes about news leaks and their perceived effect on national security.

How the Survey Was Conducted

The findings on general press attitudes, and those on terrorism and news leaks are based on telephone interviews with 1,504 adults, conducted between July 10-24, 1986.  This survey contained the principal questions for the “People and the Press, Part 2.”  it contained a subset of repeat questions from the 1985 survey on general attitudes toward the press used for trend analysis.  The margin of error due to sampling for the total sample of 1,504 is + or – 3 percentage points.