Mainstream Media’s Failure to Keep the Trust of American Public

A Journal of People Report

With all its efforts to gain the American public’s trust, the U.S mainstream media has failed miserably. Recent polls reflect the growing mistrust on mainstream media that has been taking root in the mass psyche for a while.

Last year a Gallup poll found that: “Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media ‘to report the news fully, accurately and fairly’ has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. This is down eight percentage points from last year.”

Americans' Trust in the Mass Media

As it can be seen from the graph, for the last 20 years, Americans’ trust in mass media has been falling steadily.

Another recent Emerson College Poll echoes this reality. The poll found that among registered voters, 49 percent find the Trump administration truthful while 53 percent consider the news media untruthful.

Although, this finding has been contradicted by a Quinnipiac University Poll. The poll found that 52% Americans trust the news media over Donald Trump to tell the truth about important issues while only 37% trusted Trump more.

Between these two contradictory findings, the fact that Americans are losing faith from the mainstream media, stands unaltered.

These polls also show deep divisions among the republicans and the democrats. The Gallup poll found that: “Republicans who say they have trust in the media has plummeted to 14% from 32% a year ago. This is easily the lowest confidence among Republicans in 20 years.”

Trust on MSM among democrats and independents has also declined, although marginally, with 51% of Democrats (compared with 55% last year) and 30% of independents (versus 33% last year) expressing trust.

Many has blamed the 2016 presidential election for the American public’s sharp decline in trust on MSM. To many members of the public, the media’s negative treatment of Trump appeared as biased towards Clinton. Claims have been made that, MSMs have paid less attention to Hillary Clinton’s controversies while pivoting their news and analyses around Trump’s condemnation.

The media, often called as the Fourth Estate, plays important role in holding the fabrics of the state together. It shapes the narratives necessary for the state and manufactures consent among the public on controversial issues. Decline in trust on MSM is a serious concern for the American state and its interests.


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