Trust the Media? Oh, Sure

If you encountered a news story saying Americans don’t trust the media, would you trust the story? The answer might depend on the medium that delivered it to you. A Harris Poll found just 30 percent of Americans saying they “tend to trust” what it termed the “press,” with 54 percent saying they don’t trust it. (The rest were unsure.) Radio scored better, with 44 percent saying they tend to trust it and 32 percent saying they don’t. In a bit of unwelcome news for television, its “tend to trust” tally was lower than that of the category “Internet news and information sites” (36 percent vs. 41 percent), while its “tend not to trust” vote was markedly higher than the Internet’s (46 percent vs. 34 percent).

The same poll asked respondents to say how often (if ever) they go to various media for news about political candidates and issues. The highest “all the time” vote went to local TV news (38 percent), followed by local newspapers (32 percent) and cable-TV news (28 percent). Sixty percent said they “rarely” or “never” seek such news via national newspapers’ Web sites, matching the number who said the same about cable-news networks’ sites.