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American Trust in Media at All-Time Low

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.

Written by Ryan Glasspiegel

Ryan Glasspiegel grew up in Connecticut, graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison, and lives in Chicago. Before OutKick, he wrote for Sports Illustrated and The Big Lead. He enjoys expensive bourbon and cheap beer.

15 Comments

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  1. So at my college, we could get a highly subsidized subscription to the Washington Post, back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, so I would read it pretty much every day during those years. It struck me at the time how their reporting would include opinion within the news stories. I had grown up reading my local paper, which was mostly straight news. Now, I seriously cannot find anywhere a news article that doesn’t have a slant to it. It’s really a problem for the country moving forward.

    • I signed up for a digital subscription with them thinking the same thing. And, in terms of objectivity, it far outclasses NYT/WaPo/CNN/Alphabets. However, their political reporting and anything that’s not straight economic news leans left. On the other hand, their editorial board remains very much to the right, and they are very good at making compelling arguments.

      And then there’s the ’10-point’ they send out every morning. Point number 10 is their ‘Question of the Day’. The question today was: “In response to our question about the initiatives you are paying the closest attention to under the new Biden administration?” The themes of the responses they chose to publish:

      1.) That we as humans are on the brink of extinction due to climate change.
      2.) Unifying the country.
      3.) Bringing an end to the current immigration detention policies FROM A WOMAN IN GUATEMALA.
      4.) Student loan forgiveness and federal vaccination plan.

  2. Well on of the propaganda networks was on at the gym today and apparently Biden had one of the most historic inauguration speeches ever.

    I saw the youtube stats on it…this is why nobody trusts the media anymore.

  3. Yeah, Fox’s dickhead Chris Wallace said that Biden’s inaugural address was the greatest he has ever seen. When that quote was brought up on The Five yesterday, I thought Gutfeld and Watters were going to choke from laughing. Gutfeld, particularly, was incredulous.

  4. Think this is a new phenomenon (mistrust in media)? Consider my favorite Mark Twain quote:

    “If you don’t read a daily newspaper, you are uninformed, if you do read a daily newspaper, you are misinformed.”

    Certainly anyone who believes the politics portion of the NYT, WaPo, LAT, SFC or Boston Globe is either knowingly ignorant or not intelligent enough to discern right from wrong.

    • The thing is, until recently (1980’s – not too recent I guess) many cities and towns had more than one newspaper, each with its own slant. This was the standard of journalism. Those consolidations began in the 80’s, and now we have the Unipress everywhere. Unipress tells local affiliates what to report, and the affiliates dare not deviate.

      So this is somewhat different than Twain’s time, where reading a single source would misinform, but there were still enough other sources around that one could get something of a broader picture.

  5. Fake poll. There is no way this is true. I’d guess the number to be in the 70s if not higher. The media sucks and has sucked forever. Don’t Dan Rather or Peter Jennings me either. Back in that area we didn’t know what we weren’t told. Major news outlets for the past 4 years peddled a pee tape hoax, they knowingly lied about the spying operation the Obama Admin did on candidate Trump. If not for Fox News we’d know nothing about Hunter Biden and China Joe. I hear that computer of Hunter’s is something else too.

    All of this is not to say any of Trumps nonsense was good. It wasn’t. But he finally called attention to a lying media that our other politicians tip toe around. I was glad to see Ron Desantis go after that “reporter” a few weeks back. I hope more point out their hypocrisy, lying, and manipulation.

    I have noticed the past few years even in objective news reports from the AP or Reuters they like to use colorful adjectives to craft and shape how people read the story.

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