In what is unlikely to be any surprise to liberals and progressives, at least, Gallup is reporting that Americans’ Trust in Media Remains at Historical Low. According to Gallup, “Four in 10 Americans say they have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust and confidence in the mass media” – newspapers, TV and radio – “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly.” As I said, nothing new: “This ties the historical lows on this measure set in 2014 and 2012.”
The rub is that, as pointed out, “Prior to 2004, slight majorities of Americans said they trusted the mass media, such as newspapers, TV and radio.” Trust peaked at 55% in 1998 and 1999. Trust in television news alone was at a dismal 23 percent in 2013.
Which means, of course, that 77 percent of you were thinking, “Yeah…not so much.”
Have people become more cynical, or is the media genuinely less trustworthy?
It is easy to blame the loss of the Fairness Doctrine, eliminated by the FCC, but that event took place in 1987, yet most Americans continued to trust the media up until 2004. Another event often pointed to by liberals, the Fox News channel, launched October 7, 1996.
Perhaps more significantly, in 2003, the Bush administration launched the illegal invasion of Iraq based on widely reported but soon to be proven false claims about WMDs, and the lies kept on a rolling.
Gallup tells us that “Trust has typically dipped in election years, including 2004, 2008, 2012 and last year,” but they point out that 2015 is not a major election year.
Though Gallup doesn’t analyze the reasons, we can point out here that elections begin earlier and earlier, and this year has featured prominently the on-and-off again feud between Donald Trump and Fox News. Trump has been turning viewers away from Fox News in a concerted effort – including delegitimizing an easy target, the most prominent woman on Fox News, Megyn Kelly – to personally control all news about himself.
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