Trust In Media At All-Time Low, Research Shows

Damir Mujezinovic

Trust in traditional news media has hit an all-time low, according to new research from the communications firm Edelman.

Per Axios, Edelman's annual trust barometer found that slightly more than a quarter of the American public still trust traditional news organizations.

The firm's poll showed that 56 percent of Americans agree that "Journalists and reporters are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations."

It also established that 58 percent believe that "most news organizations are more concerned with supporting an ideology or political position than with informing the public."

Edelman found that the public is divided along partisan lines, with more than half of Democrats saying that they have confidence in the media and only 18 percent of Republicans saying the same.

As Axios noted, the staggering decline does not seem to have anything to do with former President Donald Trump's attacks on the press, since the same trend is seen across the world.

"Faith in society's central institutions, especially in government and the media, is the glue that holds society together. That glue was visibly dissolving a decade ago, and has now, for many millions of Americans, disappeared entirely."

Media organizations have had a hard time adjusting to the technological age. The internet has changed the industry, with tech giants such as Google and Facebook ending traditional advertising and effectively killing the media's business model, according to Axios.

Prior research supports these conclusions. For instance, in a Gallup poll conducted in September of last year, six in 10 respondents said that they have little to no confidence in mass media.

Confidence in the press was exceptionally high in the 1970s, but declined by the late 1990s, per Gallup. It plunged around 2004 and has not recovered since.

Some journalists, such as Pulitzer prize-winning reporter Glenn Greenwald, have long warned about this issue. In a series of tweets posted last month, Greenwald noted that Democrats think highly of the press because they perceive it to be on their side and argued that journalists need to consider these facts if they want their profession to survive.