The Edelman Trust Barometer has been in publication for 21 years. According to Axios, this year’s results indicate that trust in the media is at an all-time low. Edelman shared their results with Axios, and the numbers are staggering:
- On the statement that “Journalists and reporters are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations.” — 56% percent of Americans agree.
- On the statement that “most news organizations are more concerned with supporting an ideology or political position than with informing the public.” — 58% of Americans agree.
The story notes that trust in the media “deteriorated even further” when Edelman re-polled respondents after the election, with just 18% of Republicans trusting the media compared to 57% of Democrats.
In a separate poll, released this past September, Gallup also presented an unflattering portrayal of Americans’ trust in the media:
In that poll, 27% of Americans said they had “not very much trust” in the media and 33% said none at all — this latter number marked an all-time high. Both Gallup and Edelman have Democrats feeling much better about the media than Republicans do at the moment. While the Gallup chart above does show that has been the case for a long time, Gallup also shows that it has profoundly fragmented over the past five years. The rise in social media platforms appears to have exacerbated the matter.
Unfortunately, I doubt that these numbers are going to get better anytime soon, and there are going to be consequences as a result. For example, a separate Axios story based on the Edelman poll last week said that only 59% of Americans would be willing to take the COVID-19 vaccine in the next year. There are any number of health and safety matters that can go awry when so few people trust the media.