COMMENTARY BY MARGARET SULLIVAN

Bad News For Journalists. But There’s Hope

A new study, “A New Way of Looking at Trust in Media,”from the Media Insight Project, a collaboration between API and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, finds that only one of five core values touted by journalists also shares the support of a majority of Americans. Support for these values does not break cleanly along party, demographic or ideological lines but rather seems to be driven by “moral instincts.” Given that trust in the news media has fallen from about 70% in the early 1970s to about 40% now, according to Gallup — it seems worth viewing this report with an open mind.

The Raging Trust Crisis And Its Consequences

Americans are losing trust in leaders across every area of their lives — and the information coming from every source of their news, according to the 21st annual Edelman Trust Barometer, out Wednesday, which measures trust in institutions globally. The sobering report shows that people crave facts more than ever, but most have bad habits and a growing distrust of everything from journalists to vaccines and contact tracing.

Americans Remain Distrustful Of Mass Media

At a time when Americans are relying heavily on the media for information about the coronavirus pandemic, the presidential election and other momentous events, the public remains largely distrustful of the mass media. According to Gallup, four in 10 U.S. adults say they have “a great deal” (9%) or “a fair amount” (31%) of trust and confidence in the media to report the news “fully, accurately, and fairly,” while six in 10 have “not very much” trust (27%) or “none at all” (33%).