(PatriotWise)- Most Americans don’t trust the media.
For the first time in its history, an annual trust barometer compiled by Edelman has found that fewer than 50% of all Americans say they have trust in traditional media. Social media trust has also hit an all-time low, with only 27% of people saying they trust what they read on social media.
While trust in the government and the media has been dissolving for the better part of this century, it has all but evaporated by 2021. There are some disturbing results coming out of the Edelman survey.
For example, 56% of Americans said they agreed with this statement: “Journalists and reporters are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations.”
In addition, 58% of respondents said they thought “most news organizations are more concerned with supporting an ideology or political position than with informing the public.”
The trust in the media got even worse following the 2020 presidential election. Edelman re-polled people following the election, and found only 57% of Democrats trusted the media, while only 18% of Republicans did.
This is a big problem for America. With so much distrust of the media, it’s hard to know what is truth and what is falsified anymore. This further exacerbates the divide in the United States, especially along political and social lines.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the survey, though, is that this distrust of the news media is not a problem that’s happening just in America. Similar patterns are being found across the world.
Heidi Larson, a “vaccine rumor hunter,” described the problem perfectly:
“We don’t have a misinformation problem. We have a trust problem.”
News organizations are continuing to lose advertising revenue to digital formats — specifically Facebook and Google. As that has happened, ratings at the networks has fallen. They’ve had to do something to try to make up for that drop in ratings so they could make up for the drop in advertising dollars, and many organizations have turned to outlandish claims and anything to grab the attention of viewers.
Edelman says that reversing this lack of trust in the media is going to be a very big hill to climb. In America, they say one way to do it is through help from a trusted group of people in the U.S. — company CEOs.
American CEOs rank at the top of the list of “trusted institutions,” according to Edelman. In fact, 61% of people who voted for Donald Trump said they trusted their employer’s CEO. Of that same group of people, only 28% trust their government leaders, and only 21% trust journalists.
So, one way to regain trust in the media is by partnering with America’s CEOs to build that trust back up, apparently. In addition, news media organizations are going to have to work hard on building back up that trust, and not seeming so leaning toward one political side or the other.
That might not happen anytime soon, unless one or more organizations step up and say enough is enough.