Distrust in U.S. Media Edges Up to Record High

Here is a great article from Gallup to help set the stage of our class discussion and lecture on Monday. Please read the entire article and comment.

Perceptions of liberal bias still far outnumber perceptions of conservative bias
by Lymari Morales

WASHINGTON, D.C. — For the fourth straight year, the majority of Americans say they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. The 57% who now say this is a record high by one percentage point.

1997-2010 Trend: In General, How Much Trust and Confidence Do You Have in the Mass Media When It Comes to Reporting the News Fully, Accurately, and Fairly?

Read the entire report here


About Samir "Mr. Magazine™" Husni, Ph.D.

Samir Husni, aka Mr. Magazine™, is the founder and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi. He is also Professor and Hederman Lecturer of Journalism at the School of Journalism and New Media. Dr. Husni is the author of the annual Samir Husni's Guide to New Magazines, which is now in its 28th year. He is also the author of Launch Your Own Magazine: A Guide for Succeeding in Today's Marketplace published by Hamblett House, Inc. and Selling Content: The Step-by-Step Art of Packaging Your Own Magazine, published by Kendall Hunt, Magazine Publishing in the 21st Century, published by Kendall Hunt, and co-author of Design Your Own Magazine. He has presented seminars on trends in American magazines to the editorial, advertising and sales staff of the magazine groups of the Morris Communications Company, Hearst Corp., Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, Meredith Corp., Reader's Digest Magazine, ESPN the magazine, Sail Magazine, American Airlines Publishing, the National Geographic Society, the Swedish magazine group Bonnier, the Finnish magazine group Sanoma Magazines, Southern Progress magazines, New South Publishing, Inc., the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Society of Magazine Editors, Vance Publishing Corporation, the Florida Magazine Association, The Magazine Association of Georgia, the National Society of Black Journalists, the Japanese Magazine Publishers Association, and the American Press Institute. He is "the country's leading magazine expert," according to Forbes ASAP magazine, "the nation's leading authority on new magazines," according to min:media industry newsletter; and The Chicago Tribune dubbed him "the planet's leading expert on new magazines." Dr. Husni has been interviewed by major U.S. media on subjects related to the magazine industry. He has been profiled and is regularly quoted in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and many other newspapers nationwide, as well as the major newsweeklies and a host of trade publications. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, CNNFN, PBS, and on numerous radio talk shows including National Public Radio's Morning and Weekend Editions. Dr. Husni has also served as an expert witness in several lawsuits involving major media corporations including Time Inc. and American Express Publishing among others. He has been a judge of The National Magazines Awards, The Evangelical Magazines Association, The City and Regional Magazines Association, and The Florida and Georgia Magazine Association Awards. Dr. Husni is the President and CEO of Magazine Consulting & Research, a firm specializing in new magazine launches, repositioning of established magazines, and packaging publications for better sales and presentations. Dr. Husni holds a doctorate in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a master's degree in journalism from the University of North Texas. When he is not in his office reading magazines, Dr. Husni is at the newsstands buying magazines.
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68 Responses to Distrust in U.S. Media Edges Up to Record High

  1. Angela Rogalski says:

    The mass media should be the pillars of virtue when it comes to giving the people the uncut, unadulterated truth where the news is concerned. Unfortunately, in my opinion, that’s not the case. I think instead, they have a tendency to lean whatever way their powers-that-be encourage them to. It’s very easy to watch one news program and see conservatism strewn all across the anchor desk, and then switch the channel and hear more liberal views than even the most liberal of liberalists could stomach. So what happened to the plain truth? These days there’s so many spins placed on the stories, your head stays dizzy. Are the networks not aware of the public’s opinion of them? Or do they just not care? For example, on one network during our last presidential race, Obama was covered almost non-stop, while on another station, it was all McCain…as though Obama didn’t even exist. Now, both station’s endorsements were pretty clear to me. I didn’t want to hear how great one was and how awful the other one was; what I wanted to hear were simply the facts so that I could have a more informed opinion about both candidates when it came time to actually vote. But apparently unbiased facts are not what our network news programs are all about anymore. So it’s no wonder the American people have a negative attitude toward them. It’s time for the news to become what it is: the news. And not a scripted opinion’s column. There’s only one Andy Rooney…

  2. Elizabeth Beaver says:

    It’s hard to trust the media when there are millions of DIFFERENT opinions being forced upon viewers. Diversity within media is a good thing because it provides a balance but it’s beginning to be TOO much. There are literally millions of sources for news that causes more confusion and chaos than a feeling of unbiased-ness. American’s distrust the news because they can SEE the bias, they know what it’s being fed to them by mass media has an alternative motive. Media needs to take a step back from their CEO’s pocketbooks and start giving their viewers ALL sides of the story.

  3. Katie Keatley says:

    I can definitely understand why people are finding it more and mored difficult to trust the media. News channels and newspapers can choose what they release for the public to see, therefore, they can influence how we view things. The media is very biased and not always truthful, so it is hard to see it as a reliable source.

  4. Matt Daniels says:

    News outlets are biased because that is how they make money. People do not care about the truth. People tune into biased channels and purchase biased papers because they want to be entertained and enlightened by people who have the same opinions. Unbiased reporting has no place in mainstream media. Unbiased reporting is seen as boring. It is seen as lacking emotion and passion.

  5. Justin Gibson says:

    Of course the media is going to be bias, the channels or the papers have one person that controls what they want to go into the medium. Then the only reason those stations become popular is because the people that watch them or purchase them have the same views as the editor of that particular medium.

  6. Brittany Rose says:

    Personally, I do not know who to believe anymore when it comes to news coming from the media. Whether it be from the TV or newspaper, they all seem to have at least one small piece of information that is different from the other. I have given up even trying to watch the news or read the newspaper for the simple fact that I am tired of reading bad news. Yes, bad news may capture the eyes of some people, but as for me, it is depressing and makes me wonder where and what this world is coming too. People just do not do good anymore, it is like they have nothing better to do with their time, to but to lie, steal, and kill, for attention.

  7. Lorraine York says:

    Because some of the media is obviously geared towards the conservative ideology, and some of it is noticeably geared towards the liberal ideology, it does make trusting any media difficult. Different news channels have their own spin on politics and policy, and the individual has to choose which channel to watch and side with. Because of the bias put in the media, it is clear that the top priority for news stations is not to give people accurate information and to keep them informed, but to cater to the belief system of the majority of viewers. It comes as no surprise then, that a record number of people are not trusting in the media. It also comes as no surprise that most people view the media as being more liberal, because most of the liberals think that the media is right on and not biased at all. Media should not take sides and start giving the information just as it is, without positive or negative spins on any one topic.

  8. Patricia Wiseman says:

    I agree that news media is starting to become more and more liberal. To me, the media’s influences are based on the public’s opinion. People are bound to read what they want to read, see what they want to see, and hear what they want to hear. Likewise, the media is presented in a way that wants grab the public’s attention—to make them think, act, or look a certain way. And this day in age, liberals far outnumber the conservatives. Liberals make up an immense group, even in certain neighbor cities, like Memphis, Tupelo, and even Oxford. The only conservatives I would encounter would be people from the South, particularly in smaller towns. And because there are more liberals and since the media is presented according to the audience’s desires, the media has, indeed become more and more liberal, therefore, diminishing the conservative population.

  9. Jean Phillips says:

    No kidding, Sherlock: Americans are distrustful of the media, and they perceive a liberal bias more often than a conservative bias. I think the average American citizen could have told you that without a poll being conducted, but I understand the importance of having all of the numbers–really, I do. The knowledge just seems like such common sense to me, but I’ll try not to dwell on it.

    Consider the first point, that 57% of Americans distrust the media. This is perfectly understandable when you consider the multitude of news sources present in today’s world, and the diversity of opinion that accompanies the reporting of news. The same story may be covered by different news channels in radically different ways, which is confusing to the viewer. Which news source–both reputed to be respectable and accurate in their reporting–should the viewer accept as honest? While the variety of opinions that viewers encounter can be valuable within an intellectual community, it can also leave the viewers confused and distrustful. It’s only natural that as the sources of media proliferate, distrust in media will increase.

    As for the perception of a bias, that’s also common sense. Americans distrust the media because they perceive a bias in media. Speaking purely in generalities, America is a centrist nation. The segment of the population whose beliefs are radical is comparatively small. The average citizen is moderate, with either mildly liberal or conservative leanings. Considering that we are a centrist nation, most citizens are wary of bias, and may even see it where none exists. Remember also that most normal people don’t make front page headlines; it is the radical element that does. Since most news coverage is of extreme examples of either liberals or conservatives, and not the more common centrist perspective, centrists can see this as being media bias.

    All in all, I can’t say that I think distrust of the media is a bad thing. By questioning the story as it is presented to you, you can verify to your own satisfaction what in actuality happened. Numbers can be manipulated, and with such a diversity of opinion, some “expert” is bound to agree with any kind of controversial view. Really, a news story is what a reporter chooses to make of it. Personally, I think that in this day and age it’s up to the public to discover the truth on their own.

  10. Ellen Graves says:

    People have a tendency to gravitate towards news outlets that have the same views as they do. The news industry understands this and knows they can reach a larger audience by expressing the news in a certain way. People are more likely to watch or read news that sides with their political views. Not many people like to watch programs that completely disagree with their core beliefs. Biased news might not be the best type of journalism, but at the present, that’s what people are wanting and watching.

  11. Sarah Harden says:

    Personally, I don’t believe the media is completely biased. Of course there are the Glenn Beck- and Bill Maher-type shows that are intended to be biased, but those shows are not there to just report news. Obviously it is hard for newspapers and news shows to be completely unbiased, because 200 people would write the same story 200 different ways. However, I don’t believe the media have a “hidden agenda.” I believe most journalists would give us the news in as unbiased a way as possible, because most journalists are there to inform the people, whether they agree with the issue or not. A lot of people might say that the news is too liberal, but the same people said the news was too conservative during President Bush’s term. We have a president who is a Democrat, and our congress is controlled by Democrats, so focusing on the issues they address doesn’t necessarily make the media biased.

  12. Gloria Briggs says:

    I found it interesting that the people who had less trust in the media were said to have higher incomes, more education, and money. When you think about it, it really makes sense that those are the people who would be more likely to question the media. Having more education makes people more aware of their own beliefs.

    I also find it interesting that less trust in the media correlates with less trust in the government.

  13. Kirk Faust says:

    News media will always be bias. Media will always be bias because the news is run by politically bias people not machines. The people who run the news will always put a political spin on what they are reporting. What is important is how you the viewer of the news interprets what you are hearing. I can give an example from my own experience. I was watching the CBS nightly news one night and Katie Couric was doing a story on a T.E.A. party rally and instead of saying that they were protesting she made a derogatory statement against them and said they were “complaining,” which makes their opinions sound inferior. I believe this to be an example of a democratic bias, but it will always be how you interpret it.

  14. Jade Genga says:

    Honestly, this material does not surprise me in the least. I think that it is only normal that in an economic crisis people will distrust the media and the government more. If the country and its people are in good standings and not struggling, people have no reason to distrust. Now, in these economic times, people are struggling, the US is in a war, politicians are flip-flopping because of ratings, and so people are more likely to be skeptical.

    Another very interesting point to this article was that people with a college education are less likely to trust media. More people than ever before in the US are attending college, which would also explain why the trust in the media has decreased. With more education comes more question.

  15. Caty Cambron says:

    I have to admit, there have been times when I have questioned if what I am watching on the news is not just propaganda or an attempt for the government to make it “seem” like everything is okay in the world. Theories and speculation of whether or not the government is secretly watching everything we do, tapped into our TVs and computer screens, may or may not come from paranoia but it still is interesting to wonder.. What if it is all a hoax? I had to read the book “Finding George Orwell in Burma” by Emma Larkin for another class, and this exact thing took/takes place in Burma. The media is censored along with the rest of everyone’s life, and the government is constantly watching – wether you know it or not.

    Although a little far fetched, the idea that everything we watch and see on the news is just a lie is something interesting to think about. Therefore, there will be people who begin to lose trust in the media. How will we ever know?

  16. Olivia Rearick says:

    I was not surprised to see the number of people who feel as though they can trust the media is at an all time low. Our economy is obviously in a recession and it definitely is playing part in the concern and attitudes of Americans. There is more uncertainty, fear, and need for the truth than ever before. I can see how people would feel as though they are being cheated out of a quality form of media because there are so many different news channels, talk radio, newspapers, etc. that surprisingly cover, for the most part, different news stories. But, when they do cover the same major breaking news, each media has their own way of covering it and point of view that it becomes hard to decide who is “right” and who is “wrong”. In today’s age, people want the story cut and dry no strings attached.
    However, I was surprised to see that the majority of people thought the media was too liberal. I feel like there certainly are extreme liberal news stations, but there are also extreme conservatives stations as well. There are so many ways to get the news that it seems like people would be able to find at least one source they agree with and can learn to trust.

  17. Jackson Boyd says:

    Jackson Boyd:

    I feel as if the media can be an amusement park ride in that there are so many ups and downs and we as an audience don’t know what we could be hit with next. There are so many opposing views on certain subjects whether it be liberal or conservative. It all seems to be so opinion-based rather than factual. Id rather hear the news and make my own assumptions on what is going on. I feel like as an educated individual that I have the capacity to understand what is going on and make my own assumptions from it rather that hearing and believing the opinions of those who are feeding us the news. The whole idea of those who obtain a college education are less likely to believe the media seems to be spot on. Being educated and being able to think for yourself can absolutely play a large role in the reason for the decline in mass media. The media is a very opinionated source which often times does not provide viewers with all of the facts.

  18. K. Nicole Miller says:

    I wasn’t surprised when I read the results of this article. It makes sense that people with higher education would be confident in their own opinion on the media. Lower income and less educated people don’t have as many sources as higher income and educated people. I personally believe that almost all of the media is biased but some sources are way more biased than others.

  19. anbeam says:

    I am not surprised by the results of this poll. Most Americans are currently distrustful of the Obama administration so of course this same distrust is reflected towards the media. As an educated person, I can watch different news sources and understand that different channels or sources are going to put a different spin on the news. I would not say that the media is either too liberal or too conservative. I believe that different news organizations take their own stance. For example, Fox News is commonly known as a conservative media source and NBC is viewed as a more liberal source. I think it’s wrong to group the media as a whole as either liberal or conservative. There will always be different views and “spins” to every news story depending on the station or channel that you are listening/watching.

    I do, however, appreciate that the people who are questioning the media are more likely to be well-educated and have higher incomes. It makes sense that people with higher education are more likely to question the media because they have been taught not to just beleive every single thing that they hear. It’s important to investigate sources and take most news reports with a grain of salt.

    Amy Beam

  20. Alexandra Donaldson says:

    The news media will always have something biased in one of their reports. The news is controlled by who gives the news and/or who owns the news company. For example if Mr. Bob owns Zeta news and he was sent to jail on how he made up half of the news he reported on Zeta news, do you think Zeta news will use that as one of their news stories? I do not think so. It will also be true on political issues as abortion, same sex marriages, etc.. If the owner does not believe in abortion then he will not report on news that is supporting abortion.

  21. S. Blair Jackson says:

    I think one major reason for why people are more distrustful of the media today is because of the online blogging. These immediate social networks allow people to post news even before official media programs such as CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC get a hold of it. People all have their own opinion about different topics, and when they express these opinions via blogging, it affects what others think. It causes confusion on what to believe and not believe. With so much immediate information coming in from all angles, it is sometimes hard to trust what is real, reliable news.

  22. Anna Waggoner says:

    This is a clear sign that the mass media needs to have a game changer. If reliability isn’t there, then there in no point in producing material. The poll that shows that trust in the governmental branches is down too, is a clear reflection of our society. True this shows a lack of trust, but there must be viable reason for nearly 48% of us to not trust mass media- nearly half the population. Thus without an increase in this trust, the industry will not survive in the long run.

  23. Brittany Stubbs says:

    Though the mass media should be supplying the truth of information about the stories and scandals that both surround and concern us, I’ve found we are living in a world full of more people who either want to read: A. peace of mind (the comforting, happy ending stories) or B. juicy scandals (the dirty details and entertainment to gossip about). Granted, these can be lovely bonuses that come with reading a paper or flipping on the news, but neither are providing the truth we actually need, it’s only trying to please what we want. In a video we watched in class, the LIFE magazine was talking about its vote for “person of the year” and how they use to choose whoever had the biggest influence on us, whether that be an American President or a foreign terrorist, but in today’s society, they only choose positive because people don’t want to read the negative. This is a sad but true statement for most of the people in our world today.

  24. Ashley Locke says:

    I believe that distrust in the media is a natural, expected thing that will always be around. Conservatives will distrust liberal media, and liberals will distrust conservative media. We are all human, and even the best reporter will have a difficult time completely removing bias from a subject. I want to know what is making these people distrust the media though. Are we honestly believing that the media spits out lies left and right? Or does the distrust stem from newscasts opposing our own beliefs? Do we distrust the facts displayed, or the opinions? Either way, people should be able to determine whether or not they deem a piece of news trustworthy. The media will always have a bias, no matter how hard we try to stop it. It is up to the viewer to filter that properly.

  25. Caroline Hendershot says:

    I generally agree with the fact that a large number of americans today do not trust the media, with good reason too. But, contrary to what the article is saying, I do not believe that the reason the population no longer has faith in the media is because it is too “liberal” or too “conservative” or too “opinionated”; I mean, that is the point after all. I feel the reason that americans no longer have faith in the media is not because of the opinions expressed through the medium but the way the media is presented to the public.
    There is no denying it; media is EVERYWHERE. But, like many others out there, when I think of “media” I think of gossip and tabloids, not news stations. The way the magazines and many news broadcasts today are centered around celebrities and things that generally have literally NOTHING to do with the american population what so ever is the reason that the media is not trusted. The tabloids and gossip shows center around fabrications about other people’s lives, and when they are wrong (which is a majority of the time) they are becoming less and less of a credible source.
    I know that this has nothing to do with political news or the way “breaking” news is presented; but, I really do feel like because of the way “trashy” news is the center of our interests today it skews the way that people perceive the “real” news from the important stations. I mean, if the tabloids cant even get their facts straight what should make me think that CNN should be able to? It really is all relative even if it isnt the same thing. Bottom line is, no one trusts the news anymore, but its not at the fault of the news stations themselves, it is at fault of the american society and how they intermingle gossip and lies with credible news sources.

  26. Hayden Sowers says:

    I believe that lack of trust just runs in our society and in our blood as Americans. Generally most people have a hard time trusting people in the U.S. and rightfully so. I mean just look at all the conspiracies and such that some well-known Americans have gotten themselves into. One that is local here would be the Dickie Scruggs case. A lot of people trusted him and he let them down in a major way. Also the part about Americans losing trust in all branches of government just has to deal with the general consensus that our past 2 Presidents haven’t done the job. When the top man doesn’t do anything good then America lost and is still losing trust in our government. As far as the trust in the media I think that all is on preference. If you trust the news source that is putting out the news than it’s all about trusting them, but I believe it is just all how much trust you, as an individual, can put in the media source.

  27. Abby Abide says:

    I can understand how people recently have become more cynical and skeptic toward the media in hard times, but I almost never doubt the things that I read (I don’t have time to watch TV news). Maybe it’s because I haven’t really been interested in the news until this year that I’m still naive about it, but most of the stories that I read (and I do read a lot of them) seem to be pretty neutral, but I guess that’s just me!

  28. Wanda P. says:

    I agree it is hard to trust the media when most of them are saying different things. When you have one that say we are out of debt you have another that say we are far from being out of the hole we are in. I do believe the more educated we are the more we start to not trust the media.

  29. Ashley Locke says:

    After class, I wanted to comment on this post again. I believe that journalists should write or report without bias, but I don’t believe you can force a journalist to be unbiased as the Washington Post tries to do. Not allowing your reporters to vote does not mean that they won’t choose a side. In fact, if I were disallowed to vote, I would push my political agenda even more so that I could convince others to vote my way to make up for my missing vote. I say allow journalists to have their opinions, but leave them out of the workplace. Report facts, not opinions.
    I believe that a lot of the reason people say the media is too liberal is because they are more “liberal” media outlets than “conservative.” As far as televised media, the conservatives have Fox News, while Liberals have CBS, MSNBC, CNN, ABC, etc. I think people are perceiving quantity over actual political leanings. I’m not saying that these stations aren’t biased because they most definitely are. That said, I don’t identify myself with either major party. I consider myself libertarian.
    As far as news goes, I think that programs like Fox News’ Hannity and Colmes (Colmes now gone) may help to increase trust in the media. This is because both major political parties are represented in this news segment. They both get to argue their points, and the viewer can decide who to agree with. However, not all news can be presented this way.
    For print, I like how the Economist publishes stories anonymously. That way readers focus on the content of the article and not the person who wrote it. To make this sort of publishing work, the reporter HAS to report facts. Not opinions. There is an opinion section in the news for a reason.
    I don’t think the media will ever be rid of bias, but it should also never stop striving to be “fair and balanced.” When political bias lessens, trust will increase. I say again, it isn’t the NEWS that the people don’t trust. Its the BIAS.

  30. Kells Johnson says:

    One cannot speak for the mass media as a whole when he or she says that all information presented is false. All forms of the press present their information in various ways, whether they be true or false. I do believe that the press is very liberal in a sense because reporters and journalists tend to be very open minded when covering a story or event. Basically, the media of today mostly presents information that is not biased but is moreso opinionated, and taht is wrong. The public should hear what is true and the line between an opinion and a fact should most definitely be drawn.

  31. Alexa Bafalis says:

    When I watch the news, from time to time I tend to question the reality of what I am hearing. In those instances I feel myself questioning everything I have heard and wondering if everything I have ever been told from the media was strategized to fit the criteria on how the government wanted the society to hear the news. For the most part I believe that the local news programs tell the news accurately for the most part. I think that it is those entertainment programs though that I think fall short in being completely accurate in their reporting. For example, the amount of times In Touch or OK! magazines get in trouble for reporting the wrong story and defaming a celebrity’s character is ENORMOUS. But consumers still buy them and still continue believing in what they have to say, continuing the reputation for the bad name the media has in reporting the news accurately. I believe the news programs but from time to time I do find myself questioning if what they are saying is true or not.

  32. Mallory Simerville says:

    To be completely unbiased would simply be impossible. You can come close to writing a completely objective piece, but some where in it, some tiny part of what you think will shine through.
    I was always taught “write about what you care about,” and frankly as a journalist the things I care about are always easier to write and I usually develop an opinion about the topic, whether it shows through or not.
    I think the thing that causes people to not trust the media, is advertising and big corporations. Newspapers, TV stations, and radios stations would not exist without advertisers, and to keep those advertisers they have to speak well of them on air, or in print. And because of the leniency towards these sponsorships the journalists appear biased.
    But I feel like as a journalist, your goal should be to appear unbiased to your audience to the best of your ability. And then let your audience decide whether your opinion shows.

  33. jonece dunigan says:

    This predicament is an example when journalists do not follow rule number 2 of the 55 rules posted in the last blog: “There will be no relevant information without journalistic quality.” The Gallup poll is an illustration of this. A vast population of Americans believe that we are not becoming the watchdogs of our society but provide bias information for them instead. This has downgraded our journalist quality and makes people not want our product.
    “b. There will be no journalistic quality without journalistic independence.”
    This was the main rule that slapped me in the face. Sadly, life works like this: You land the job of your dreams working for a big news paper. When your editor reads your assignment, they state that your work is not conservative/liberal enough or the words used in your article are not savvy enough for readers. That’s when you realize that your words are not owned by you anymore. The editor owns your words for they are the filters of the newspaper that decides what get’s read or what doesn’t get read. If you don’t get published, you don’t get paid. In any journalistic profession (broadcast or newspaper) people feel as if you have to sacrifice a portion of your independence to keep your job.
    The internet doesn’t make it any better either. You can publish anything on a blog w/o doing any homework on a subject. This is what makes them NOT JOURNALIST because they do not have a back up source to prove their truth.
    In my opinion, we need to get back to telling the truth and telling the story the way it is. I don’t think you can find the 100% truth in media today because they have a higher power to please instead of pleasing the higher power of truth.

  34. Ariel Ladner says:

    I think by far this has been my favorite topic we have covered in class. Of course we can’t trust the media, they deliver biased and ridiculously opinionated news. Not all news stations and sources of media are bad, I believe there are still a few good news places out there. But, as a journalist it is our job to leave out the unbiased opinion and just state cold, hard facts about what is going on in the world today regardless if we are republican, democrat, purple, blue, orange, or yellow. News is news and factual news is best. I believe it is the consumer’s decision however, to believe what he/she want to believe. It is there decision to weed out the bad media from the good.

  35. Lauren McMillin says:

    Of course there are news sources that people know not to believe, such as tabloids, but the fact that over half of Americans distrust major news corporations and the mass media as a whole is somewhat alarming to me. If someone refuses to believe the stories of a particular station or paper, then I would advise them to search elsewhere until there beliefs are confirmed. But if people stubbornly refuse to believe almost anything the media says, I can’t help them there. With most people, however, the issue is not whether or not they believe a story is true but rather they agree with what is presented before them. It is difficult to determine how “conservative” or how “liberal” a story is since everyone has a different opinion. This makes it impossible, therefore, to please everyone. No matter how people feel, there will always be people disagreeing about the matters of the world. The news is just there to keep them informed.

  36. Peyton Thigpen says:

    I thought the statistic about educated people being less likely to trust the media was very interesting. I think that this is the case because higher education gives people an opportunity to examine how the business world functions. Journalism is simply a business like any other and the same things happen in the news that do any other business. The air time seems to go to the highest bidder. But, with that knowledge, it is up to the reader to use their own discretion to what they take at face value. Of course, some media cannot be trusted. But whose fault is that? I think that the reader must take a little bit more responsibility to know what they are reading, who it was written by, etc. It is very easy to make the media the enemy. But I think we must read, or watch, with responsibility and discretion when obtaining our news.

  37. Alexa Evans says:

    Im not surprised by the information and the findings of the polls. Of course trust in the media is going to decrease when anyone and everyone in the world is posting whatever they want. People can post whatever they want and there is no filter or law that says it has to be true. I was also not surprised when it stated that lower educated lower income families trusted the media more. Not to say that someone from a lower educated lower income family can not question the media or what they put in it sometimes but it typically does not happen. For so long the media was trustworthy and where we could get the real story and now everyone is starting to question that. Saying it is too biased politically or towards the company that is paying their salaries. The article was very interesting but I think its something most of us already knew as we question the media daily.

  38. Emily Bain Manifold says:

    In my political science course with Professor Brown we just learned that the more education an individual attains, the more likely they are to be liberal. Because most Journalists and people working in the media are of higher education they are therefore typically more liberal. With that said, it makes sense that the polls show that people feel the news sources are liberally bias.
    In my own opinion though, this liberal Media should not constitute distrust. The two are not connected more than slightly.
    The distrust of the Media comes not from the changing technology of the media (it’s not the INTERNET people don’t trust, as one of the polls showed), but from the access to the media by average citizens, and the ability to post anything as “News” (it’s the INFORMATION that they don’t trust).

  39. Sidney Bayles says:

    I can definitely see why more and more people are distrustful of the media today. There have become so many news channels on TV and each one contains their own opinion about news. As normal human beings, we usually want to hear the straight truth and we want to hear it from more than one source. But when we are hearing a million different things from a million different mouths, it is hard to know what is true and what is not. Therefore, more and more people are not trusting the media and what the media says.

  40. Bradley Boleware says:

    Where are the people who trusted the media? Obviously these overly trusting people are unaware of the agenda of mass media. Anything to make a buck seems to be the main focus of the news sources today. I wish there were a news source that could be trusted. Unfortunately all of the news sites and shows have sold out and have sponsors they wouldn’t dare speak against. When i want news I can trust i tend to look at all of the news sources and derive what truth I can from the collective reports.

  41. Quanterrius Ward says:

    I do not think to problem is one of distrust as much as it is resentment. My theory is that the majority of people now feel that the media no longer have their best interests at heart. Instead of just disclosing information and leaving it up to the consumers to decide what to do with that information and how they should feel, the media instead passes off their opinions as the only ones worthwhile while attempting to tell the people how they should think and act. An aspect of people that remains constant no matter what their background or culture is that they hate having their intelligence insulted and detest being condescended to by pretentious elitists. The media must find some way to reconnect to the consumers with whom they have lost touch.

  42. Stevie Farrar says:

    Americans can complain all they want about the media being biased, but the problem with this argument is that, even if one news source leans to one side, there is another source that leans to the other. As much as it pains our lazy society, in order to be the ideal democratic citizens that our Founders hoped we would be, we need to take the time to absorb a variety of news sources. Personally, I feel that the news reported by the media is unbiased for the most part. The facts are the same. However, the crazy ladies that scream at me through my television screen are a different story. They undoubtedly carry a specific political vantage point and want to present it to the public. These verbal sparring matches are not news; they are opinions and are completely entitled to being biased, yet they have become the sole news source for many Americans. We spoke briefly today in class about whether journalists should have political stances and beliefs. I firmly believe that journalists do and should hold political beliefs. As American citizens, they have a responsibility to do so. As a journalist, however, they have a responsibility to prevent their political views from infiltrating their work. Nevertheless, the American public should be able to trust their media, yet the public has a responsibility to themselves to double check their facts. You don’t believe it’s sunny just because the weatherman told you so; you look outside the window to see for yourself. Do your homework, America.

  43. Evan Brewster says:

    You look at the results and it is not surprising. The news is going to show what will get them money and get them viewers. The perfect example of this is the sports media. ESPN is going to show your major markers, big names teams not only in college sports, but in professional sports. The Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers, and any team involving LeBron will be on national television almost every time they play. For college sports, Alabama football is going to be on a prime television slot, so will Ohio St. and football and Duke, North Carolina, and Kentucky basketball. The commentators always say it is good for the sport when the aforementioned teams are good, but really they are saying it is good for ratings and it is good for money.

  44. Nelson Duke says:

    I sometimes never believe the news on different news channels. America is one of the most if not the most bias country. It is practically separated by news from the liberals and conservatives. Heavy liberals will believe news from places like CNN and MSNBC and heavy conserbvatives will believe FOX News. I try to get the most knowledge of my news from FOX, but who can the people between conservatives and liberal believe?

  45. Madison Hill says:

    I think that it is foolish to expect a news outlet to be able to deliver news, especially controversial news, without some hint of a bias. Every reporter, anchor, journalist, etc etc is going to hold some kind of opinion. And they may try to deliver the news completely fairly, but viewers can detect bias from even the smallest tone of a reporters voice. So I agree with Bradley Boleware in that the only way to become fully informed is to get information from numerous sources and derive somewhat of the truth from that.

  46. Brian Baker says:

    I can easily see how, as indicated by the poll, most Americans are distrustful of the media because many news programs, whether on television or radio, clearly deliver opinionated news. Two perfect examples are the more conservative views of Fox News and the liberal news reported by CNN. We can’t turn to online articles because it is difficult to believe news reported on the internet as it brings into question the reliability of the source. I also think that people may not trust the media because of incidents like the Jayson Blair scandal concerning false articles. How is the public supposed to trust journalists after Jayson Blair plagiarized and fabricated stories, and how can they trust that this isn’t happening everywhere, everyday?

  47. Ryanne Flanders says:

    I completely understand why people believe the media is biased. It very much is. But, it is human nature for one to unknowingly and unintentionally insert his or her own opinion. I, too, believe there’s more liberal influence than conservative, simply because I think the media is controlled by those of a more liberal nature. My opinion is, if one doesn’t agree, don’t watch it. If one wants conservative media, then he/she should get the news from a conservative source. If one wants unbiased information, then print and web sources are the best places to search.

  48. William Stokes says:

    It is worth noting the overwhelming amount of Republicans who say the media is “too liberal”. But look at Independents. Nearly one half of independents call the media “too liberal”, and one out of four Democrats call the media “too liberal.” Not nearly as many individuals claim a conservative bias.

    What does it mean? People recognize the obvious liberal grip on the mainstream media. And no, contrary to what The Young Turks would have us believe (as if they are a credible source in the first place), the media does not “warm up” to whoever is in charge. (i.e.: the daily slaughtering and demeaning of George Bush every waking day from 2003-2009.)

  49. Stephanie Wales says:

    I am most definitely in the group of Americans who distrust the news. If it weren’t for this class, the only time I’d watch the news is to see the weather and I would hardly ever pick up a newspaper. The Cronkite days are looong gone. In one of his last interviews conducted by Today show, he told the reporter that the news just isn’t what it used to be. Cronkite felt that even he, the most trusted newsreporter in America, did not have a place in today’s mainstream media. Today, people have so many outlets to create their own news and find news that it seems like real journalism doesn’t even matter. It is easier and simpler to trust the news of facebook friend as opposed to some untouchable, unknown, unreachable journalist.

  50. Christy Greer says:

    I am one of those people who doesn’t trust the media for my news. Television is way to too liberal, almost all the new channels, such at CNN, MSNBC, NBC, etc, are liberal. Fox is supposedly “fair and balanced,” but anyone who watches the news, knows that they are just as bias and the other TV channels, and are conservative. There is no way to report something political without siding with the right or the left. You can say its unbiased, but there is something in that article that someone wrote or you wrote that is a biased statement, your view will be revealed. We are people with opinions, and those opinions will be expressed regardless of how unbiased or biased we may be. Its true for Newspapers, websites, television shows. The New York Times is a liberal based newspaper, just as the DrudgeReport.com, is a conservative website distributing news. Everyone has an opinion, and those opinions are shared, its your job to decide who to read and what side you will take.

  51. Vanessa Gillon says:

    It is truly sad how many americans are not trusting the mass media these days. The numbers from Gallup’s poll shocked me to know this is the fourth year mass media is being reported that it is not being trusted. Sad to say many are believing and trusting the internet and illigitament sources these days to get their news. I personally watch the news, especially local news to see what exactly do i need to be aware of throughout my town and state. National news, i cant say i watch much because it seems somewhat redundant which is why i believe the numbers are down. Still im glad im taking this class to begin to know the difference in it all.

  52. Elizabeth Sales says:

    To be honest, I don’t really know if the media is honest or not. I don’t get enough of the media to say whether or not that it is biased and or false. I don’t watch very much t.v., and seldom do I pick up a creditable newspaper. But to me, I feel as if the internet is the least trustworthy media source available. If a hot topic emerges, the quickest way to get it out would be through the internet, even if the story isn’t true. I can’t really judge how truthful the media is these days…but I can tell you that I am not a journalism major, and this is why.

  53. Sidney Williams says:

    This is so interesting that you would post this blog now, because we just discussed the exact same graph in Political Science dealing with the media being “too liberal” and what not.
    While I do feel the mainstream news is a little on the liberal side, I ask – “Can you blame them?” The majority of what goes in on the news is indirectly controlled by the government. If the media reported what they necessarily wanted to, they wouldn’t last very long in the wider scheme of things, because the political world would shut them off. Why give someone information when they’re bashing you? So the media likes to keep the government happy – and seeing as how the government is definitely in a liberal state at the moment, the media has no choice but to lean towards that spectrum of the party system – for survival.

  54. Anna Kate Craig says:

    Maybe it’s just me because I know it’s true that people don’t trust the media, but I find it so crazy. I feel like I grew up sheltered because I never thought any different about what the media was telling me. I never really thought about the fact that stories could be fabricated to make things sound better or whatever. How are we supposed to know what is going on in the world if we don’t believe what we hear? I wish there was a way that people could find more trust in the media now.

  55. Houston Brock says:

    Great article. The media is extremely biased an opinionated. We tend to forget that new stations are big businesses and it’s a “business first” approach to telling the news. Anything that might be slightly skewed in favor to get some good ratings will always sell. It’s not surprising that the public is so down on the media really, becaue bad news is everywhere. Like Dr. Husni said, “sponsors pay the bills.” So they have to report what the sponsor wants in most cases. Jayson Blair was another example of why we shouldn’t trust the media. He was in a big time newspaper as well. Think of all the small time reporters tryin to make it in America just making up stories….. something to think about.

  56. Brittany Danielle Vaughn says:

    I believe the news media will continually be bias. There are way too many different political views in the media world, thus resulting in their different views or values. I would like to know “what happened to simply being honest?” But i can answer myself with that. The world and our society have changed so much and continually judge whatever or whoever they can get thier hands on. We can watch CBS and hear one thing and then turn it to CNN and hear a completely different spin on the story. We could watch FOX and hear all these crazy liberalists and what they have to say or we could stay conservative and watch CNN. It goes either way, whatever way you like better. I just wish the media would give us the complete truth 24-7. It may not be what we want to know, but it sure as hell is what we need to know.

  57. Joshua Bryant says:

    It’s interesting how the media distrust has managed to stay the same and not fluctuate or drop too much in the past few years. This, I believe, has been because of the dramatic political upheaval the past 4 years including Bush and Obama. Also, I’m not at all surprised that poor and uneducated people tend to believe the media- complacency is a sign of the working class.

  58. Betsy Lynch says:

    I think it’s interesting that the idea of trust and the media is such a hot topic. It seems obvious to me that the majority of people will watch news channels/ read newspapers that offer information and opinions that are in line with the readers. For example, my grandmother is highly conservative and therefore she pretty much worships Bill O’Reilly. It’s no surprise to me then, though he claims to be master of “The no spin zone” that a lot of what he says is slanted towards a conservative perspective. However, should my grandmother not trust what he is saying just because he’s biased? No. She should know though, that he is biased. I don’t think that the media and journalists are lying to our faces. I don’t think they are being untrustworthy. I do think, however, that journalists opinions and biases play a huge role in stories they produce and news that they relay to us. Because of this, as a somewhat uninformed audience, we must listen intently to what we are being told, but we must also search for knowledge ourselves, think about issues for ourselves, and decide on our own opinions for ourselves. It is the job of journalists to present us with information. Biased information is still information. It is our job to determine for ourselves what we think about such information. We need to do our job, and not try to rely on others to do it for us.

  59. Eric Levine says:

    Interesting statistic that the lower-income Americans with less education are more likely trust the media. Does this mean the richer, more educated Americans have learned that the media is untrustworthy? Who can you trust for accurate, unbiased news?
    Cash rules everything around me, so I know that corporation sponsor news stations so there is always some type of bias or influence supported through money. But that’s why you gotta learn to believe a third of what you hear and half of what you read.
    My news comes from print like certain magazines and newspaper, Yahoo, and ESPN.

  60. Ellie Turner says:

    I believe it is very hard to gather the truth from the news that is being delivered to the public. There is always going to be some voice of subjectivity within the writing and delivering of news. I believe that no journalist can remain completely objective and and every style of writing incorporates the personal tone of the writer. The fact that certain news channels favor certain political parties is often talked about and I agree. I also agree that people tend to watch the news channel that favors the political party that they also favor. Giving facts in a way that the people can draw their own conclusions without any type of persuasion from the deliverer or writer should be a priority of every journalist. I am afraid, however, that most journalist will find it to hard and not worth the effort when they can get away with exactly what they are doing now.

  61. Jory Tally says:

    I agree with the polls. I believe most new stations are too liberal. It is hard to trust the news because most of the time the reporters are stating their opinions rather than the actual truth or are “sugar coating the truth.” There are a few news channels that I feel like I can count on. It all comes down to the person reporting and the station you are watching to know if you have faith in what they are reporting. One thing that stood out to me in the polls was that people with a higher education trust the news less than people with a poor education. I believe this is true becuase people with a higher education know more details about what they are hearing and have other sources.

  62. Taylor Benvenutti says:

    The marking point of when I lost trust in the media was during high school. In the 2009 presidential elections many of my classmates would argue politics. The Democrats would give out facts they had heard on television. Then the Republicans would give similar facts that favored their party. Then they would argue over whether CNN or Fox was the better station. In reality, they would listen to whichever program fed into their beliefs. I could never make a decision over the candidates or the two major parties. I never felt as if I was getting unbiased information. I still feel this way with the media, and I wonder if that will ever change.

  63. Candace Coleman says:

    I completely agree with the statement that Americans with less income and education tend to trust the media more. We are discussing the same topic in my political science class. People who are less informed are more vulnerable to manipulation by the news and politicians. This is very sad but also understandable, seeing as though they have no knowledge of their own to make decisions. Therefore, they rely only on what they get from the media. If only there was a way to engage the less informed so they could know what views to trust from the media….

  64. Robert Heard says:

    I think that the media is a reliable source for information. Sure, they will be sponsored and won’t want to say bad things about their sponsors, but they are still there to give information. If they are told by the government not to say something, then they don’t say it. That is obviously for the greater good. If the government is going to keep information away, it is probably important to do so. No matter what stance they take, it is good to see what actually happened. If the information is skewed, at least that is what everyone else is reading too.

  65. Alexa Anderson says:

    I agree that people have lost trust in the media. However, I think it is worng to just lose your trust in the media because the person reporting the news has a different veiw on an issue than you do. It is impossible for people not to have their own veiws on a issue, and just because it isn’t your same veiw does not mean it isn’t true. Everyone including journalist I believe have the right to have his or her own veiw on something. It is important to deliver news that the public can depend on, but no one should assume it to be untruthful just because they do not share the same veiws as the journalist that wrote the actical.

  66. Leah Cayson says:

    I think that the large percentage of Americans that distrust the media is a result of the many different news sources that are available. With there being so many news sources, this causes a diverse amount of opinions. Americans depend on the media to be informed; how do Americans know what to believe when there are a variety of opinions on a single story? The different opinions that the media have also results in bias among new sources. Many of these news sources are considered to be liberal or conservative. Since people also have their own liberal or conservative opinions, I think that people choose the news sources to watch and read depending on those view points. People do this to justify the opinions they have already made about politics, currents issues, etc. If people watch or read a news source that disagrees with their views then I think that can lead to distrust in the media.

  67. Elizabeth Burgreen says:

    I completely agree that the media is biased. Most of the media today consists of a liberal state of mind, and I believe it needs to change. When I talked to my parents about this issue, they said that when they watched tv or listened to the radio in the 70’s, the media was more of a liberal state. Why is it still liberal? People are definitely losing trust in many aspects of media. Some radio stations are losing trust in people in my opinion because they are so biased especially when it comes to politics.

  68. Sealy Smith says:

    I completely understand why people do not trust the media or atleast think that it is bias. If you ask almost anyone which news channel is conservative and which one tends to be more liberal, they can probably tell you. I know this gets very frustrating to the public because I often find myself feeling very confused and annoyed with the way the news in delivered. But, I also know that it is easy to sometimes push your beliefs and opinions on people when you feel strongly about a certain subject or issue, so I hate to be too hard on news reporters and their shows. Although I tend to feel out every side of any conflict or disagreement among people, I do not understand why it is so hard for news stations to just send out the news to its viewers, unedited, untampered with, and unbias. I don’t see how this could be so hard. Just give the people the news and what’s going on and let them decide for themselves what they think about things. Because the way a person says something or the images they show or the details they choose to leave out or not leave out plays a huge influence on how a viewer percieves a certain topic. Even something as factual as statistics can be extremely decieving. They can be tampered with to make it something seem a certain way when it is the exact oposite. Viewers have to be very careful when choosing what to believe and not to believe. Hopefully one day soon the people will be able to get their news straight forward, uncut, untampered with, and most importantly, unbias.

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