Mainstream media one of the sources of misinformation in Canada, reveals major report

A new research project found that mainstream media outlets like the CBC were one of the leading sources of misinformation among Canadians.

Cosmin Dzsurdzsa Montreal QC

A new research memo by the Public Policy Forum found that mainstream media outlets like the CBC, CTV and Huffington Post were one of the causes of misinformation among Canadians.

“The one troubling point seems to be that, while social media exposure is associated with higher levels of misinformation, so is exposure to traditional or mainstream media (though to a lesser extent),” writes the report.

The findings are part of the think tank’s “Digital Democracy Project” which is “a multi-year project to analyze and respond to the increasing amounts of disinformation and hate in the digital public sphere”.

According to the report, those who get their news from mainstream outlets are more likely to give incorrect answers to questions about basic governmental policy issues.

“Survey respondents who read or watched more traditional news media were less likely to express uncertainty about policy questions than those with low consumption, but more likely to give an incorrect response,” it says.

When asking respondents to reply to statements on central policy issues like the environment, immigration and the economy, those with a high amount of traditional media consumption gave nearly twice as many incorrect answers than those with low traditional media consumption.

“Respondents with high levels of traditional news media exposure reported uncertainty in the answer to our fact-based questions 2 fewer times than those with lower levels of media consumption,” reads the report.

“They gave 0.9 more correct responses; however, they also gave 1.1 more incorrect responses,  which means they gave 0.2 more net-incorrect responses than those with lower exposure.

Among other findings, the memo claims that most Canadians consume a majority of their news from the following five outlets: CBC online (42%), CTV (41%), CTV online (40%), CBC Television (39%) and TVA-Nouvelles (37%).

According to the report, the project surveyed over 1,000 Canadians and analyzed millions of social media posts to achieve its findings.


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