Rupert Murdoch And Journalism: 54% Call Phone Hacking Common Practice

July 25, 2011, 5:00 PM GMT+0

Many Americans have been following the phone hacking scandal at the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World, and many of them in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll think hacking phones is a “common practice” in journalism. 

Three in four Americans have heard of the scandal, and there is evidence that Americans think the British scandal may also be affected Murdoch-owned enterprises in the United States. More than two in three think the U.S. Murdoch outlets (which would include The Wall St. Journal and Fox News) also have participated in phone hacking. 

Majorities of both Republicans and Democrats agree.

Personally, Rupert Murdoch is not popular. Although more than four in ten Americans say they haven’t heard enough about him to judge him, those who have are decidedly negative. 44% hold unfavorable views of him, nearly three times as many as the 15% who are favorable. However, Republicans are slightly favorable, by a 33% to 26% margin.

Whether it’s the hacking scandal or other journalistic problems, Americans’ assessment of the ethical standards of American journalists may be at an all-time low. Just 11% think the honesty and ethical standards of journalists in traditional journalism are high; 44% say those standards are low. In 2009, with a slightly different wording, more than twice as many Americans gave journalists a high rating on ethics, and only 31% described their standards as low. 

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