Same Channel, Different Show: America Distrusts Mass Media More Than Congress

don't trust the corporate mediaDoes the national news industry read its own press? While networks are busy creating fancy holograms and littering the screen like ESPN during the NFL Draft, America cares less and less about what they actually have to say.

Gallup just came out with a poll that proves it: distrust in national news is an historic low.

According to the poll, things aren’t in a good way. Americans’ confidence in the media’s ability to report the news “fully, accurately and fairly” has returned to its previous all-time low of 40 percent.

Be it due to fear or loathing, people do not believe what the media folks are sharing. No matter what talking point decorates the teleprompter, many viewers feel like they might as well flip the channel.

Should we?

It would seem that Americans want networks to do more reporting the news — not commenting on the news, which seems to be the thing these days. Are people longing for the days of Murrow, Cronkite, Jennings, and the rest of the biggies who were news types and not entertainment moguls?

distrust media

Americans’ trust in the media in recent years has dropped slightly in election years, including 2008, 2010, 2012, and again this year — only to edge its way back up again in the following odd-numbered years. Although the differences between the drops and the recoveries are not large, they suggest that something about national elections triggers skepticism about the accuracy of the news media’s reporting.

Gallup took it one step further and broke down the distrust numbers by political affiliation. Democrats seem to be more trusting of what they see on TV, and well, let’s just say 27 might be FOX News’ favorite number.

distrust by politics

Maybe the larger question to PR pros should be: If America doesn’t believe the news, where do we pitch for valuable coverage? If national reporters are more concerned with entertaining than masses than educating them, which outlets do we target for our clients?

It’s a good thing print isn’t really dead.