Half of Americans believe that the national media is trying to mislead, misinform or convince the public to take a particular point of view through its coverage, according to a new study.
The poll, released Wednesday by Gallup and the Knight Foundation, goes further than previous studies that showed low trust in the media, to the point that many believe it is intended to deceive.
When asked if they agree with the statement that the national media is not trying to deceive, 50% said they disagreed. Only 25% agreed, according to the study.
Similarly, 52% said they disagreed with the statement that communicators in national news “care about the best interest of their readers, viewers and listeners,” the study indicated. 23% of those surveyed believed that journalists were acting in the public interest.
“That was pretty striking for us,” said Sarah Fioroni, a Gallup consultant. The findings showed deep-seated mistrust and negative opinion that went beyond the foundations and processes of journalism, she said.
Journalists must go beyond promoting transparency and accuracy to show the impact of their work on the public, the study noted.
“Americans don’t seem to believe that the national media cares about the overall impact of their coverage on society,” said John Sands, director of media and democracy at the Knight Foundation.
One small consolation was that in both cases, Americans had more trust in the local media.
The ability of many people to catch news instantly from a device in their hand, the rapid pace of the news cycle, and the proliferation of information sources may suggest that more Americans are aware of the news than ever before.
Instead, it seems that information overload has had the opposite effect. According to the study, 61% of Americans believe these factors make staying informed more difficult, while 37% said it was easier.
As in many other studies, Knight and Gallup found that Democrats trust the media more than Republicans. Over the past five years, the level of mistrust has skyrocketed among independents. In all, 55% of respondents said coverage was heavily influenced by political leaning, up from 45% in 2017.
In a finding that reflects the financial woes of some outlets and declining audiences for TV news channels, the study showed that 32% of Americans said they paid close attention to local media, compared with 56% of early 2020. That was at the start of an election year and the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
In a note about where people find the news, 58% said that on the Internet, 31% mentioned television, 7% radio and 3% printed newspapers or magazines.
Source: VOA Español