Trust In Media Hits Rock Bottom
A study conducted in the U.S. by Digital Insight Study, a partnership of the Associated Press and the American Press Institute, yielded alarming results for democracy.
Its main conclusions are as follows:
- Only 6% of respondents have a lot of confidence in the media, making it one of the least trusted institutions in America.
- The accuracy of the facts reported by the media is an extremely or very important trust factor for nearly 90% of Americans.
- But 40% of respondents can cite at least one example of an inaccurate or biased media report that eroded their confidence in journalists.
- A majority of Americans get news from social media, most frequently by far from Facebook.
- Yet only 12% of Facebook members have a lot of trust in the news they get on the world’s largest social network (vs. 18% for Twitter members).
- The source of the information displayed on a social network is the most important trust factor for Internet users when assessing its reliability.
The role of the media in informing and educating citizens is vital in any democracy. This study shows that the citizens’ trust in the media has hit rock bottom, which confirms the analysis I presented in the article “Journalism And The Disinformation Society” that I posted a few months ago.
The results of the Digital Insight Study’s poll were made public the same week as the Pulitzer Prize winners. Prominent among these is a team of the Associated Press whose investigation freed 2,000 slaves in Southeast Asia. All the winners embody the values and the value of journalism.
Ultimately, citizens are willing victims of the very media excesses they condemn. Otherwise, the most ethical media outlets would also be the most popular.
As Albert Camus wrote on August 31, 1944 in Combat,
“A country is as good as its press.“