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Opening Arguments

Notes from the revolution

It's not like this is anything new, but seeing it again is depressing anyway. From the latest Gallup poll:

PRINCETON, NJ -- Television is the main place Americans say they turn to for news about current events (55%), leading the Internet, at 21%. Nine percent say newspapers or other print publications are their main news source, followed by radio, at 6%.

These results are based on a Gallup poll of 2,048 national adults conducted June 20-24, in which Americans were asked to say, unaided, what they consider to be their main source of news about U.S. and global events.

More than half the references to television are general, with 26% simply saying they watch television or TV news, 4% saying they watch local TV news, and 2% saying they watch the "evening news." The two leading 24-hour cable news channels -- Fox News and CNN -- are named by 8% and 7%, respectively. However, no other specific channel -- including MSNBC, PBS, BBC, and all of the U.S. broadcast networks that once dominated the news landscape -- is mentioned by more than 1% of Americans.

The vast majority of those citing the Internet -- 18% of all Americans -- either mention the Internet generally or say they get their news "online." Two percent identify Facebook, Twitter, or social media as their source, while 1% mention a specific online news site.

The New York Times and Wall Street Journal are each named by 1% of Americans -- the only specific print publications to earn as much as 1% in the poll.

The only real surprise here is that TV is still so dominant. The way the ongoing communications revolution is talked about in the popular culture, it's easy to get the impression that almost everyone is getting their news from half-sentnce text messages on their smartphones. The percentage of TV viewing as a news source will likely go down as more young people replace all us old fuddy duddies. This generation doesn't seem inclined to change and settle down the way earlier ones have. And even if they were so inclined, rapidly evolving technology will pull them in other directions.  "Heavy reliance on print" is exclusive to seniors, according to the poll, and not that "heavy" at that -- 18 percent. Sigh, and sigh again.