Study Finds Younger Americans Determine Factual News Statements Better Than Older Americans

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Younger Americans are better at picking out factual news articles when compared to older Americans, according to the Pew Research Center.

The research center conducted a survey asking U.S. adults to identify “five factual statements and five opinion statements.” It found that one out of three 18- to 49-year-olds was able to identify all five factual statements as factual, whereas only 20 percent of Americans over the age of 50 were able to identify the five factual statements.

Opinion statements also followed a similar trend, with almost twice as many 18- to 49-year olds (44 percent) picking out all five opinion statements as the group of those surveyed who were 50 and older (26 percent).

Jeffrey Gottfried, senior researcher at the Pew Research Center and one of the writers of the study, told IJR that the goal of the study was to find out how “Americans internalize the news.”

“We were really interested to the extent to which people could differentiate between factual statements and opinion statements,” he said. “Many raised concerns are whether facts and opinions are increasingly becoming blurred…”

A previous study Gottfried collaborated on found that all participants were able to pick out each of the five factual statements 26 percent of the time and all five opinion statements 35 percent.

While digital savviness was played up as a role in people’s understanding of factual news, Gottfried said that did not hold up when age was factored in.

“The age differences persisted even when you accounted for digital savviness,” he said. “So there’s something there above and beyond digital savviness that determines age still matters.”

The research also determined that, regardless of the ideological appeal of the 10 statements, younger Americans were consistently better at picking which ones were fact and opinion.

“They were able to classify statements that appealed more to the left,” he said, “as well as classify statements that appealed those that appeal more to the right.”

For example, the opinion statement that read “Government is almost always wasteful and inefficient,” which was determined to lean right ideologically, was correctly identified by 77 percent of younger respondents as opposed to 65 percent of the older respondents.

The 18- to 49-year-old group also was better at determining the left-leaning ideological statement of “abortion should be legal in most cases” (82 percent) over the respondents who were 50 years old and older (78 percent).

Gottfried said that the overall findings “do raise caution.”

“With the massive array of content that does flow through the digital space and the country’s increasing political divisiveness, it’s really important for people to quickly sort through information, and there are certain members of the population that do better than others do,” he said.

The survey was conducted between February 22 and March 4, 2018. Gottfried said the study’s release did not correlate with the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.

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Morte206
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Morte206

** From the Article** For example, the opinion statement that read “Government is almost always wasteful and inefficient,” which was determined to lean right ideologically, was correctly identified by 77 percent of younger respondents as opposed to 65 percent of the older respondents. === Speaking as someone who falls into… Read more »

Screwtape
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Screwtape

The problem with this survey is that it fails to account for social/cultural factors. Older people lived in a time when truth was more widely practiced, q.v. the MSM vs. real journalism. I also wonder if the “examples” presented were couched in “modern”, which can be quite deceptive. It also… Read more »

1ntrepid
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1ntrepid

“it’s really important for people to quickly sort through information”

If your only sources of “news” are Faux, Breitbart and The Daily Crawler, no wonder you are misinformed – you aren’t getting real information to properly sort. You are doing it wrong.

Screwtape
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Screwtape

The same might be said of any partisan “news” sources like Vox, Salon, and Jezebel.

Trust but verify.

I myself rely upon Cosmo and Gun & Garden. Occasionally TV Guide or People.

1ntrepid
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1ntrepid

Partisan is not the same as propaganda.

The difference is that the sources that I mentioned just make $hit up, then the idiot President repeats it like a parrot. That exact timeline can be traced after he tweets.

Screwtape
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Screwtape

Partisans use propaganda.

banstan
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banstan

Once again, insipid, when cornered you come up with BS. Your “just make shit up” comment is just that, made up shit you get from the sources screw mentioned. Trace ANY timeline you mention for us.

Screwtape
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Screwtape

Banstan, Insipid ALWAYS fails to substantiate any of the things he says. He could have provided concrete examples but failed, as usual, to do so. He’s a “male” version of the unlamented Ford. Yes, he makes shit up. The only reason I respond to him is to point out his… Read more »

1ntrepid
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1ntrepid

When I do give examples, you just write them off or ignore them, so I am just wasting my time with you ignoramuses.

banstan
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banstan

Just another stupid-assed libtard telling us WE are doing it wrong. Get over yourself, insipid.

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