Poll shows American public trusts news media less


Seems like most of the U.S. isn’t on good terms with the news media nowadays. According to a new poll by Gallup, 60 percent of Americans have little to no trust in the media – TV, newspapers, radio, and so forth – to report the news fully, accurately and fairly.

This percentage has shown a steady increase in the past 14 years – it has risen 14 percent since 1998. The diminishing trust made me question what changes in the 21st century could have caused this. What’s my main guess? Maybe the news media have been preoccupied in keeping up with the technological advancements in the past 15 years and, therefore, are focusing on the competition among media outlets rather than covering and reporting the news.

It seems like every page in newspapers and magazines plug to Twitter accounts; radio hosts constantly remind you to like the station’s Facebook page; and TV stations race to upload their videos and content online. What results is chaos.

Although technology and social media have made positive changes in the news media, they do have negative aspects. Media outlets are constantly competing to see who can get content online the fastest. As a result, there are bound to be errors along the way.

For example, who can get forget the infamous Obama/Osama typo in 2011? The mix-up was found in several media’s reports around the world, including NPR’s website, Canadian TV stations and The Guardian.

Recently, “Today” aired an edited conversation between George Zimmerman and a 911 dispatcher before the shooting. The edited call made it seem as though Zimmerman said, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.” When in reality, the call went like this:

Zimmerman- “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.”

Dispatcher- “OK, and this guy – is he black, white or Hispanic?”

Zimmerman- “He looks black.”

(Source: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/cutline/trayvon-martin-case-exposes-worst-media-210020839.html)

When the news media make mistakes like these, it’s hard to overlook them. Viewers and readers will naturally question the validity of other claims that news medium makes.

Hopefully, the news media will soon realize that the need to be first can harm the accuracy of their reporting.

Link to Gallup report: http://gallup.com/poll/157589/distrust-media-hits-new-high.aspx?utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=syndication&utm_content=morelink&utm_term=All%20Gallup%20Headlines

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