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America’s Trust in Mainstream Media Hits Rock Bottom

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

Authored by Robert Bridge via The Strategic Culture Foundation:

Gone are the days when US consumers looked to the nightly news and print media as a trusted source of information, and especially if they hold conservative views, according to a new poll by the Columbia Journalism Review.

Things are going from bad to worse for the US legacy media as its trust credentials have reached an all-time new low, as if that were possible. It has even achieved a lower trust rating than lawyers and members of Congress.

The introduction to the CJR poll provided the following ominous opening: “For decades, we’ve known that Americans don’t trust the press. What we haven’t known is how people view the makings of journalism, from the use of fact checkers and anonymous sources to the question of whether money skews journalistic decision-making. This new national poll for CJR answers those questions, and points to how big the trust gap remains.”

Indeed, the cynicism on the street should have every mainstream media purveyor in a state of absolute panic.

In one particular finding, it was revealed that many news consumers believe that reporters, seemingly in an effort to push forward with a political agenda, are too quick to run with a story before knowing all of the facts. This has never been more true before than in the Trump era where anything goes, so long as it trashes conservatives.

We have just witnessed ample proof of that media tendency in several high-profile cases. This week, attorneys for Nick Sandmann, a student from Covington Catholic High School, filed a lawsuit against the Washington Post, seeking $250 million in damages for negligence.

Sandmann and his fellow students became the target of false accusations of racism during a trip to Washington, D.C. The mainstream media, as well as many politicians and celebrities, pushed the story that the young student, a Trump supporter, had taunted an elderly Native American Indian near the Lincoln Memorial. The story quickly fell apart, however, after video of the encounter and eyewitness accounts destroyed the media version of events.

Attorneys for the boy claim that the Bezos-owned newspaper “wrongfully targeted and bullied Nicholas because he was the white, Catholic student wearing a red ‘Make America Great Again’ souvenir cap on a school field trip to the January 18 March for Life in Washington, D.C.”

Todd McMurtry, one of the attorneys for the Catholic student, called the Washington Post “a weaponized news outlet that used its power and strength to destroy Nick Sandmann’s reputation.”

This leads us to another part of the CJR poll that helps explain the causes for the political crisis now gripping the country, and that is the overwhelming mistrust that conservative-leaning Americans have in the media. When asked how much confidence they had in the media, almost 70 percent of Republican respondents answered “hardly any confidence at all,” while just 25 percent of Democrats held a similar opinion.

That is unsurprising considering that the bulk of the people who work in the media tend to hold leftist views. This is no secret to Republicans. Investor’s Business Daily summed up the situation nicely: “Ask journalists, and they’ll likely tell you they play things right down the middle. They strive to be “fair.” They’re “centrists.” Sorry, not true. The profound leftward ideological bias of the Big Media is the main reason why America now seems saturated with “fake news.” Journalists, besotted with their own ideology, are no longer able to recognize their own bias.”

In the halcyon days of pre-Internet journalism, the media was at liberty to report on stories without fear of recrimination that some alternative news site, or even a citizen journalist providing analysis on a YouTube channel, would call them out. Those days are long over. Today, there are simply too many other ways to verify the credence of the media’s damaged product.

Consider the mainstream media’s use of sources to support their stories. Since it is important to protect the identity of these insiders, it is considered natural and necessary to quote these individuals as “anonymous sources.” However, the increasing tendency to rely almost solely on unnamed individuals has made consumers of the news increasingly skeptical about the news and information they are being fed. After all, who’s to say that the reporter, left-leaning in his or her political ideology, is not just sitting at his desk dreaming up lines like Tom Clancy, quoting at random some “senior military adviser” or “retired high-ranking diplomat” speaking on condition of anonymity?

But the impression this leaves behind has had other unintended consequences. Not only do news consumers increasingly believe they are being fed lines from some fictional characters, 60 percent now believe that these sources, whoever they may be, are actually paying for the media to run with the stories. That is a level of cynicism never achieved before, and one which should make the media moguls quiver in their ivory towers.

The CJR poll is a wake-up call to the mainstream media that it cannot continue with a ‘business as usual’ approach any longer. The modern news consumer is too savvy, too informed to be so easily fooled. When the average consumer of mainstream media can read through the lines, as it were, and understand they are being taken for a ride, it is game over. A whole new business model built on trust is desperately needed. But can the media deliver such a product? Nothing less than its survival depends upon it.


The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

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Dan Kuhn
March 4, 2019

So the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, BBC et all are left wing?? isn`t that a stretch? Are you saying that the MIC is left wing? All of these news outlets has supported every lie to start every war since the Second World War. Perhaps the real story is that they are so far right that they are left?

Reply to  Dan Kuhn
March 5, 2019

We really need to get away from the old left right terminology which has no meaning at all now. The legacy media for instance will push the utmost sillinesses of ‘identity politics’, but has supported every war since Iraq. Really we have to look at an agenda that wants to destroy nation states in favour of a global elite (well all except one and we all know where that is).

john vieira
Reply to  ManintheMoon
March 5, 2019

Which “one” is that??? There appears to be absolutely no bias in their attacks on “nation” states…and right now the USA is under full attack from within…vis a vis the Electoral College and its’ 2nd Amendment. The mainstream fake media has been corrupted and bent out of shape completely and recently social media has been joined to their cause…The “one” narrative IS being introduced!!!

Vera Gottlieb
Vera Gottlieb
March 4, 2019

I am totally flabbergasted…

Rick Oliver
Rick Oliver
March 4, 2019

What has surprised me is , for a very long time American people have believed MSM !!! Now , finally waking up , they are now switching to ” Alternative ” News outlets , who are more likely to be telling the truth. But even myself , was watching the likes of ” Aljazeera ” News for a couple of years before I read about them and found out they were as crooked as the rest of them. Now I read the likes of The Duran , RT , Vesti ,Inside Russia etc. Some very good reporters among this lot… Read more »

Reply to  Rick Oliver
March 5, 2019

It’s a very difficult business getting to the truth, but at least with the alternative media one knows their biases and expertise. The Duran for instance is pretty good on European, American or Russian politics, but once it starts straying into areas like the Middle East or Latin America, are out of their comfort zone – viz Mercouris’s recent predictions about the fall of Maduro or that the Americans had finished off ISIS in Syria (ha ha – they’ve just moved the leaders to Iraq). The best advice is to treat all pundits with some scepticism until you see them… Read more »

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