America ranks last in public trust for its news media, report finds

Andrew Trunsky, DCNF

A survey released Tuesday ranked the United States last among 46 countries in media trust, falling below democracies and autocracies across the world.

The survey, commissioned by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, was conducted among 92,000 people worldwide, and found that among those in the U.S., just 29% said they trusted their news media the majority of the time. Finland ranked the highest at 65%, while Slovakia, Hungary and France each ranked just above the U.S. at 30%.

Unlike other counties which saw trust in the media increase this year compared to last, trust in American media remained mostly flat.

Reuters attributed the lack of trust to an array of problems, including the coronavirus pandemic and the decline of local news across the country. But it also described growing gaps among Americans’ trust of news, noting the lack of representation and alienation that young Americans, women, ethnic minorities and political partisans often feel regarding it.

“This is an extraordinary (though unsurprising) finding,” journalist Glenn Greenwald said after the report’s release. “Most amazing is that the corporate sector of the US media is failing in every respect: financially, culturally, collapsing trust.”

Joe Concha, an opinion writer for The Hill, attributed the decline in trust to the media’s increasing tendency to take political sides and jump to conclusions that end up being misleading or false. He also said that many outlets were growing out of touch with millions of Americans, and cited a 2019 Rand report that found that outlets were knowingly moving toward subjective journalism.

The Daily Caller podcast “Vince and Jason Save the Nation” also discussed distrust plaguing American media on both the left and right on Friday, touching on the liberal media’s lack of accountability when they report erroneously and their willingness to instantly jump to conclusions that drive a certain narrative, and how some fringe conservative site have knowingly spread disinformation that drives polarization and risks violence.

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