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mediascare011222

Overall, eighty-two percent of surveyed voters believe the media is at least somewhat scaring the public more than usual about Covid-19. A plurality (35%) of voters believes "the media is scaring people more than usual about Covid-19, it's 'fear porn'" and a third (32%) say the media is scaring people "at least somewhat, but they can tune it out." In contrast, 33% think either that the media "must scare people because of how serious it is" (15%) or that "the media was being responsible" (18%).

What voters told us flies in the face of the atmosphere created by the mainstream media every day. Turn on the news at any moment, and on any given channel, you will hear about Covid-19 cases exploding, people dying to no end, people who cannot move freely, kids who cannot go to school, teachers who will not teach, all with seemingly no end in sight. No wonder people are despondent and anxious, and that mental illnesses are on the rise, while employees are quitting their jobs en masse.

Younger voters, aged 18-29 (71% at least somewhat feel the media is scaring people more than usual about Covid-19) and 18-24 (68% at least somewhat) are more likely to believe the media is doing Covid-19 fear mongering than are the oldest voters aged 65+ (58% at least somewhat). On the flipside, older respondents were three times (27% among voters over 65) as likely to think the media was "being responsible" in their coverage of Covid-19, compared to the youngest voters aged 18-29 (10%) and 18-24 (8%).

Men (67% at least somewhat/18% responsible) and women (67% at least somewhat/18% responsible) agreed in their assessment of how the media portrayed Covid-19. In fact, their numbers were almost identical in each surveyed response category.

Republicans (84% at least somewhat/8% responsible) were much more likely to think the media is scaring people about Covid-19 than were Independents (65% at least somewhat/18% responsible). Democrats (50% at least somewhat/28% responsible) were the most likely to think the media was being responsible in their coverage of the pandemic.

Voters with children under seventeen (77% at least somewhat fear mongering/11% responsible) were much more likely to think the media was scaring people than those without children (62% fear at least somewhat mongering/22% responsible).

While voters who live in large size cities (64% at least somewhat/21% responsible), medium sized cities (67% at least somewhat/17% responsible), and the suburbs (64% at least somewhat/19% responsible) mostly agreed about the degree to the way the media was covering Covid-19, voters in small size cities (70% at least somewhat/12% responsible) and rural areas (72% at least somewhat/16% responsible) were much more likely to think the media was scaring people, and less likely to think the media was being responsible.

While the pandemic has overshadowed two years of our lives, killed almost a million people and upended millions of more lives, and does not seem to be going anywhere, anytime soon, how do we move forward? The Biden administration has reluctantly pivoted to the idea that we might have to live with this for a while and go about our daily lives as normal as possible.

While that idea might not make everyone happy, few things are certain: children need to be physically in school, people need to work, and we need positive distractions. Does the media agree? Hard to say. Should we begin to classify this virus as an endemic? The experts are the one's who know the answer to that question, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the mainstream media loves scaring people because fear raises ratings and ratings equals money, so do not expect them to dial down the ''fear porn." It is what they do. Look at every crisis over the past two decades from 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Trump. The mainstream media wants us to panic and tune in every second, so we keep coming back for more. They are not interested in the truth! That is not their business model. We need to turn off our televisions, smartphone, radios, and laptops and just get busy living. Otherwise, it is going to be a long road back to normalcy.

coviddepression011222

We cannot say for certain if there is a correlation between the incessant media scare tactics when it comes to coverage of Covid-19 and increased cases of mental illnesses, but our polling data can say for certain that some demographics have experienced increased depression since the outset of the pandemic. For instance, younger voters aged 18-29 (64% yes/36% no), 18-24 (66% yes/34% no) and voters aged 25-34 (69% yes/31% no) and 30-49 (68% yes/32% no) report a staggering increase in depression since the onset of the pandemic. Though they are, statistically, at the lower risk for Covid-19 complications than older voters, they are at least twice as likely to have experienced increased depression than voters aged 55-69 (30% yes/70% no), 65+ (22% yes/78% no), and 70+ (22% yes/78% no).

Similarly, Generation Z (66% yes/34% no) and Millennials (69% yes/31% no) were much more likely to have experienced increased depression since the pandemic began than Gen Xers (52% yes/48% no) and Baby Boomers (26% yes/74% no).

Democrats (57% yes/43% no) are also more likely to have experienced increased depression than are Republicans (42% yes/59% no) and Independents (47% yes/53% no). Minorities, such as, Hispanics (60% yes/40% no) and African Americans (57% yes/44% no) are more likely to have experienced depression than White voters (44% yes/56% no).

Where voters lived and how much their households earn also affects increased depression since the beginning of the pandemic.

Thus, voters who live in urban areas like large cities (62% yes/38% no) and medium size cities (58% yes/42% no) experienced more increased symptoms of depression than those living in small cities (40% yes/60% no), suburban areas (40% yes/60% no) and rural areas (41% yes/59% no).

As for income, the less voters earned the more likely there were to have suffered from increased depression since the outset of the pandemic. For example, voters whose household earned less than $25K (59% yes/41% no) were much more likely to suffer from depression than voters whose households earned $150K+ (44% yes/56% no).

While many voters have expressed their distaste for the incessant media coverage of Covid-19, they continue their suffering in silence. People have forgone going to the doctor, psychiatrist, or even complaining, while dealing with the lack of healthcare services and a shortage of healthcare workers due to vaccine mandates. While some voters feel the media is being responsible, it is hard to ignore how the media's coverage is negatively impacting people. On the one hand it is impossible not to cover a once in a lifetime pandemic, but when our society is wired into electronic devices 24/7, we would be remiss to shun the idea the media might be scaring people more than usual, especially children, during these trying times. The best medicine might be to tune out, tune off, and drop out from the mainstream media's coverage of Covid-19.

 

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Zogby Analytics Poll Methodology
US Likely Voters
12/21/21 - 12/22/21

Zogby Analytics conducted an online survey of 1311 likely voters in the US.

Using internal and trusted interactive partner resources, thousands of adults were randomly invited to participate in this interactive survey. Each invitation is password coded and secure so that one respondent can only access the survey one time.

Using information based on census data, voter registration figures, CIA fact books and exit polls, we use complex weighting techniques to best represent the demographics of the population being surveyed. Weighted variables may include age, race, gender, region, party, education, and religion. The party breakdown for this survey is as follows: 38% Democrat, 38% Republican and 24% Independent/unaffiliated.

Based on a confidence interval of 95%, the margin of error for 1311 is +/- 2.7 percentage points. This means that all other things being equal, the identical survey repeated will have results within the margin of error 95 times out of 100.

Subsets of the data have a larger margin of error than the whole data set. As a rule we do not rely on the validity of very small subsets of the data especially sets smaller than 50-75 respondents. At that subset we can make estimations based on the data, but in these cases the data is more qualitative than quantitative.

Additional factors can create error, such as question wording and question order.

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About Zogby Analytics:
Zogby Analytics is respected nationally and internationally for its opinion research capabilities. Since 1984, Zogby has empowered clients with powerful information and knowledge critical for making informed strategic decisions.

The firm conducts multi-phased opinion research engagements for banking and financial services institutions, insurance companies, hospitals and medical centers, retailers and developers, religious institutions, cultural organizations, colleges and universities, IT companies and Federal agencies. Zogby's dedication and commitment to excellence and accuracy are reflected in its state-of-the-art opinion research capabilities and objective analysis and consultation.

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