Healthy Scepticism: Just 6 Percent Of Americans Say They Trust News Media
WASHINGTON (AP) — Trust in the news media is being eroded by perceptions of inaccuracy and bias, fueled in part by Americans’ skepticism about what they read on social media.
Just 6 percent of people say they have a lot of confidence in the media, putting the news industry about equal to Congress and well below the public’s view of other institutions. In this presidential campaign year, Democrats were more likely to trust the news media than Republicans or independents.
But trust today also goes beyond the traditional journalistic principles of accuracy, balance and fairness.
Faced with ever-increasing sources of information, Americans also are more likely to rely on news that is up-to-date, concise and cites expert sources or documents, according to a study by the Media Insight Project, a partnership of The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute.
They want to be able to navigate the news app or website easily and quickly, without having to wade through intrusive or annoying ads.
“The skill set that journalists have to master is bigger,” said Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute. That’s because the expectations of news consumers have increased.
The poll shows that accuracy clearly is the most important component of trust.
Nearly 90 percent of Americans say it’s extremely or very important that the media get their facts correct, according to the study. About 4 in 10 say they can remember a specific incident that eroded their confidence in the media, most often one that dealt with accuracy or a perception that it was one-sided. [...]
Readers also are looking for balance: Are there enough sources so they can get a rounded picture of what they are reading? They want transparency, too. “Tell me what you don’t know and tell me how you’re going about reporting the story,” she said.