Americans Don’t Trust Mass Media

20 Sep

Yes, the mass media have been criticized in many quarters for their coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign. But the issue of trust goes far beyond political coverage. It deals more directly with the competition from nontraditional media that has led to (1) more “got you” stories, (2) the quest to be first with a story even if not certain about the facts, (3) the focus on headlines more than content, and much more.

According to a new survey by Gallup:

In 2016, “Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media ‘to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly’ has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. This is down eight percentage points from last year.”

Gallup began asking about media trust in 1972, and on a yearly basis since 1997. Over the history of the entire trend, Americans’ trust and confidence hit its highest point in 1976, at 72%, in the wake of widely lauded examples of investigative journalism regarding Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. After staying in the low to mid-50s through the late 1990s and into the early years of the new century, Americans’ trust in the media has fallen slowly and steadily. It has consistently been below a majority level since 2007.”

Click the chart to read more.


10 Responses to “Americans Don’t Trust Mass Media”

  1. morourke2 September 20, 2016 at 11:07 am #

    The reality of modern day media and modern day news coverage is simply that it is all about money. If a story with a twisted truth can catch more viewers eyes and keep the cash flow coming, producers will choose to run that story. Based on this poll however it will be interesting to see if the media’s attitude drastically changes because of other emerging news sources that could be less biased and more truth telling like online data bases and direct sources through websites like Twitter.

  2. Emily Baksic September 20, 2016 at 9:02 pm #

    I agree that most people have lost trust in the media, including me. Not only is the political coverage sometimes falsified, but so is breaking news coverage. I understand that reporters want to get the story out to the public right away, but they should at least provide truthful details. They should only report on what they know, and not what they assume. For example, the latest bomb attack with Ahmad Khan Rahami. Most newscasts and sights painted him as an international terrorist, when he was actually a resident of New Jersey. Of course we know the real story now, but they should not have labeled him as an outsider, when he actually had United States citizenship. Other bad coverage includes politics. The article stated that republicans feel like the media only shows negative aspects of Trump. However, they do negatively view Hillary; for example, the Benghazi emails. Yes, Trump is mostly painted as a horrible person, but I believe that is because he is one. I think both candidates are terrible, so I can see how it is hard for the media to spin them in positive ways. However, the media should try not be be biased. As we know, different newscasts and sites target democrats and republicans, but where is the actual truth?

  3. Vic Crain September 20, 2016 at 9:26 pm #

    Americans don’t trust mass media, and that includes many/most Internet news sources. Part of cost cutting in the media has been the virtual elimination of a category of jobs, fact checkers. However, most Internet news sources never had them. That’s why the reliability of “breaking news” stories has plummeted. CNN sacrificed accuracy in the name of being first to report, and has lost a substantial portion of its audience as a result.

    The lack of a common ground in terms of basic facts makes any kind of political or economic discussion very difficult. Each side brings the “facts” it likes to the table and disallows information supporting an alternative viewpoint.

    Its hard to imagine successful management of a company or a country in that sort of environment.

  4. Ely Levy September 21, 2016 at 8:41 pm #

    The generalization of new media at the beginning of this post is absurd. The quality and accuracy of new media depends on which outlet one is listening to. As for the mainstream media, it’s no surprise trust is at an all time low. With everything from neutrality biases, to covering stories that are not news worthy, to just flat out lying, it’s clear why trust in them has fallen. It seems like the mainstream media is on the decline, and I cant say I’m upset that I’ll be seeing fewer talking heads.

  5. bianca1030 September 22, 2016 at 12:03 pm #

    I agree that many people have lost faith in mass media because of the apparent biases portrayed by almost all news outlets. In regards to political coverage, I wrote an 11 page paper for my politics class analyzing the gender and racial biases in the 2008 presidential campaign. The comments made when reporting about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama clearly showed how each station was biased either for or against each candidate. Aside from political coverage, I think Americans would have more faith in mass media if they started reporting only the facts of the matter without adding their opinions.

  6. Jeffrey Paljevic September 24, 2016 at 7:56 pm #

    In modern society, americans nowadays don’t trust broad communications, and that incorporates numerous/most Internet news sources. Some portion of cost cutting in the media has been the virtual disposal of a class of occupations, truth checkers. Be that as it may, most Internet news sources never had them. That is the reason the unwavering quality of “breaking news” stories has plunged.I personally despise CNN news! CNN yielded exactness for the sake of being first to report, and has lost a generous segment of its gathering of people subsequently.

    The absence of a shared view as far as essential realities makes any sort of political or monetary discourse exceptionally troublesome. Every side brings the “realities” it jumps at the chance to the table and refuses data supporting an option perspective.
    Its difficult to envision effective administration of an organization or a nation in that kind of environment.

  7. Laura Hyde September 26, 2016 at 5:10 pm #

    Media coverage has increased as things like social media have expanded. It is much easier for news to be falsified and rumors to be put out there. Many times rumors start on a social media site and then are picked up by news outlets online posts before it is dismissed as a rumor, but the damage is done. A person who read a false headline is more likely to remember the false headline then the little correction in the back of the paper that the company makes. I think that people are quick to believe the media even though they know that a lot of what is said is bias and not all the facts are laid out. Many need to take this into consideration though because it is known that the media fasifiy a lot of information. This isn’t the way it should be, but unfortunately it is.

    • Evans on Marketing September 26, 2016 at 5:20 pm #

      Let’s see the commentary after tonight’s debate.


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