Poll: 60% Of Americans Don’t Trust Mass Media For Fair, Accurate Reporting

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Not so long ago a couple of journalism professors from the University of North Dakota wrote a column in the Grand Forks Herald objecting to my disdain for “traditional journalism.” In my rebuttal, my pointed to a Gallup poll showing record-high levels of distrust in traditional media outlets like newspapers and television news.

Today Gallup has updated that poll, and the level of distrust is even higher, driven mostly by decline in trust from Republicans and independents:

Americans’ distrust in the media hit a new high this year, with 60% saying they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. Distrust is up from the past few years, when Americans were already more negative about the media than they had been in years prior to 2004. …

This year’s decline in media trust is driven by independents and Republicans. The 31% and 26%, respectively, who express a great deal or fair amount of trust are record lows and are down significantly from last year. Republicans’ level of trust this year is similar to what they expressed in the fall of 2008, implying that they are especially critical of election coverage.

What’s driving this distrust in media, I believe, are the things proponents of “traditional journalism” think is best. The pretense of objectivity, as one example, and a total lack of transparency about the biases held by a media outlet and/or its reporters.

The rise of internet media, which has brought more competition and diversification to media, has exposed that nobody is really objective. Everybody has their biases. When bias is manifest and palpable to news consumers, but “traditional journalists” continue to claim they’re objective, the public loses faith.

What journalism needs is more transparency and honesty.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • $8194357

    Most media is just Provda parroting the officle agendas talking points
    just like the leftist trolls here do.

  • NDWinds

    No longer watch the local “news” or should one say blather? Catch the weather and flip goes the channel.

    • $8194357

      Cheer leaders for the agendas fed them aren’t they.

  • mikemc1970

    Of course, no one but an idiot trusts the main stream media. Fox news is the only one any semblance of truthfulness, that and the blogosphere.

    • $8194357

      Fox has been going along to get along as well..
      Still as you say a semblance ot truthfulness but PC creeping in.

      • banjo kid

        I have noticed that, so soon we might have nothing to get the facts

        • $8194357

          Yup

        • dlao

          depends on which facts you want

          • robert108

            Thanks for admitting that, as a typical left wing extremist, you can’t tell the difference between the facts and your false claims.
            The truth requires all the facts, not just the ones you cherry-pick to deceive.

    • Wayne

      True about Fox but even they don’t challenge liberals when they lie like they should in an effort to be ‘balanced’. And Fox too often accepts the MSM/democrat narrative as fact.

  • Roy_Bean

    They should add one line to the beginning of most “main stream” news stories:

    All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

    • $8194357

      Made for TV propaganda.
      Kinda sums Barry up real good, huh.

  • borborygmi

    I sure hope people aren’t looking to find truth on the internet. Who boy rift with falsehoods, half truths, edited sound and video, photo shopped photos….and on and on and on …..Truth by internet blog. They all support each other and no one knows where the story started. It is interesting when bloggers and talking heads will quote something from the AP_(you know traditional journalism) when it fits their views.

    • ‘Tom Crawford

      Bloggers arent the only place for photoshop, edited videos….I seem to remember some media getting caught editing and photoshopping pictures as well…..

      • Wayne

        The MSM is much more dishonest than conservative bloggers on the internet. To spite what ‘gmi and other liberals want to believe.

    • Wayne

      At least conservative news outlets on the internet, including bloggers, do not claim to be objective like the liberal MSM does. I look to the internet to provide ‘the other side of the story’. That would be the side that the MSM leaves out or lies about because it doesn’t fit their preferred liberal narrative. The MSM job is not to provide objective news but to advance the liberal cause while claiming to be objective. That is dishonest and wrong. Thank God for the internet.

  • borborygmi

    What was the beginning of the ‘Outer Limits’ ” We control the horizontal, we control the vertical”

    • Wayne

      Which is exactly the way the MSM thinks.

  • Waski_the_Squirrel

    One of the interesting things about reading older newspaper articles is that they clearly take a stand on issues. The author puts his bias clearly out front. Even when we pretend objectivity, we are not. Even by what we emphasize we reflect our biases. Someone who does not believe in global warming will emphasize the faults in a particular study whereas someone who does believe in it will not see these faults as important. Both would create a biased article.

    The best thing is to be open about one’s politics. And, of course, lies, coverups, strategic omissions, and the like are never acceptable.

  • Harold

    Major media reporters have been caught in a open microphone plotting to ask questions that are hostile and unfair of the republican candidate for president but nothing is asked of Obama. How can anyone trust people like this?

    • banjo kid

      Finally Univison asks some very pointed questions along with a few critiques of his tenure . Actually said he broke promises wow about time .

  • banjo kid

    Only 8% have a great deal of trust in the news media , I wonder who they are ? Does that mean that 92% do not have that trust .

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