News and Commentary

Americans Have World’s Lowest Trust In Media: Survey
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 08: Don Lemon attends the 13th Annual CNN Heroes at the American Museum of Natural History on December 08, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by J. Countess/Getty Images)
J. Countess/Getty Images

Fewer than one out of every three Americans trust the news media to report the facts, and conservatives have a lower level of trust than any other group in America, a global survey has found.

As a whole, the survey reveals that Americans have a 15% trust gap — reflecting a lower level of trust in the media than in any of the other 45 nations surveyed.

In all, nearly as many Americans strongly disagree that they trust the media (23%) than trust the media (29%). A total of 44% of U.S. citizens surveyed do not trust news outlets to report the facts.

The report also evaluated Americans based on political ideology and found that only Americans whose political views fall on the Left say the media portray them fairly: 51% of self-identifying liberals say the media reflect their views correctly, while 34% disagree. Fewer than one-third of centrists and one-fifth of conservatives agree. Self-identified conservatives have a 59 percentage point gap: 16% say the media portray conservatives accurately, while 75% disagree.

Previous surveys have found Americans’ willingness to believe the news media falling to all-time lows, but the Associated Press blamed its readers, saying the trouble is “not all Americans universally embrace core journalism values.”

For the latest survey, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford interviewed 29,000 people in 46 countries for its tenth annual digital news report, released Wednesday, but it confirmed something conservatives have long known.

While President Joe Biden has received less negative media coverage than any president on record, only 5% of stories about President Donald Trump were positive during the early days of his presidency, according to the Pew Research Center. Many of those stories subsequently proved to be inaccurate. Sharyl Atkisson, the host of “Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson” on Sinclair Broadcasting, has kept what she calls “the definitive list” of “media mistakes in the Trump era.” The still-growing compilation now encompasses 156 separate news stories from the most widely exposed outlets.

“Journalists today no longer wear striped shirts and consider themselves the referees of the game, calling balls and strikes and trying to really make sure the game is played fairly,” said former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who hosts a weekly news and commentary show on TBN, on Fox News shortly before the report came out. “These are people who every day put on a team jersey. They’re on Team Biden. They’re on Team Left.”

Much of the legacy media’s reporting exists “to shield the average American from the news,” Huckabee said.

“We passionately believe that the only function the media serves today is making us hate each other more to cover up for the sins of the oligarchic elite,” said Saager Enjeti. “They’re basically trying to Wishcast their old reality onto the new one for as long as they can.”

Sean Hannity agreed the “media mob,” especially The New York Times, are “nothing but the modern-day version of Pravda.”

The authors of the study reflected on the report but offered mixed messages about how to restore the media’s flagging legitimacy.

“Political partisans, especially on the right, trust the news much less and also do not feel news organizations cover their views fairly. News media may be able to respond to this concern,” said one of the authors of the study, Rasmus Kleis Nielsen. But he immediately walked away from the idea of intellectual diversity. “The question is what compromise that might entail on, for example, calling out unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud,” he said. “And how would any attempts to appeal more to those on the political right, often older white Americans, combine with attempts to appeal to younger and more diverse audiences, who are often more liberal? It is a clear option, but there may be trade-offs and choices here.”

In other words, ignore the older white conservatives and go all-in with the Left. But that leaves a massive audience underserved and desperate for news coverage.

“One way of reading the survey results on Americans is that things couldn’t be worse in terms of getting information,” said Enjeti. “The other is that people are more hungry than ever.”

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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