In an era in which the public seems to be drowning in news — from Facebook’s “trending” topics sidebar to Apple’s news app — and the news cycle is spinning faster and faster, nearly seven in 10 Americans feel “overwhelmed by the amount of news there is,” according to a new poll conducted by the Pew Research Center.
President Donald Trump’s penchant for tweeting on important topics that could affect the country’s policies at any point in the day — even midnight, 3 am, or 8 am — means Americans are going to sleep and waking up to breaking news on a frequent and unpredictable basis.
According to Pew, 68 percent of respondents said they are “worn out” by the sheer amount of news they are exposed to in the modern era. Just three in 10 disagreed, saying that they “like the amount of news” they receive on a day-to-day basis.
People who followed the news “only when something important is happening” were more likely to say they felt overwhelmed; 78 percent said so, compared to 62 percent of those who follow the news “most of the time.”
Republicans were more likely than Democrats to agree that there was too much news: 77 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners expressed “news fatigue,” while 61 percent of Democrats agreed.
This poll also comes at a time when the credibility of the media to properly inform the public and tell the truth is in question. The less confidence people had in the media, the more likely they were to be overwhelmed by the flood of news.
The fatigue has been building for a long time. In July 2016, in the midst of the presidential election, nearly six in 10 Americans felt “exhausted by the amount of election coverage,” according to Pew’s Jeffrey Gottfried.
Since then, the news cycle hasn’t let up. In 2017, the New York Times sent 30 percent more push alerts than in 2016, more than 750 in all. Slate framed its year in review around those push alerts, calling it “a year of relentless assault, as one news break after another pushed its way into our daily existence and found us where we live.”
Many of us, it seems, are getting worn out.