Public Trust In News Media Dips To An All-Time Low


According to a new poll, public trust in the news media has hit an all-time low.

The poll, conducted in March by the Media Insight Project, a partnership between the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, showed that 6 percent of Americans have “a lot of confidence” in the media. 

Six in 10 Americans reportedly read, watch and/or listen to the news multiple times a day, the poll showed. With the rise of social media, consumption of news has dramatically changed, as evidenced by the results of the poll. 

“For a source I trust, I will talk about an article or something I heard and forward the link to a friend or family member, or I will tell them to tune in to listen. For YouTube, I will subscribe to their page and encourage others to view their content,” a man named Timothy, who took part in research conducted for the poll, said, reports American Press Institute. 

“If there is no trust, there is no relationship,” lifestyle news consumer Brandon said during a focus group. “Why put energy into something I can’t trust when there are other resources that I can trust?”

Interestingly, the poll showed that 38 percent of those polled recalled an incident that caused them to lose trust in the news. The most common cause for such a loss of trust was either bias or factual inaccuracies. 

Of those polled, 85 percent said accuracy is the most important principal of trust when it comes to news media. 

"One of the new discoveries in this study is that the reasons people trust and rely on a news source vary by topic. For example, people are significantly more likely to say that expert sources and data are an important reason they turn to a source for news about domestic issues than about lifestyle news (76 percent vs. 48 percent),” the study stated. 

“People are far more likely to want their source to be concise and get to the point for national politics (80 percent) than sports (61 percent). Similarly, people care more that their sources for sports and lifestyle present the news in a way that is entertaining (54 percent and 53 percent) than say the same about political news (30 percent).”

A similar Gallup poll from October 2015 showed that 4 in 10 Americans had a "great deal" of trust in the news media. 

Sources: American Press Institute, Gallup / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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