The media’s stated function is to keep the public informed. They’re supposed to keep our elected leaders accountable.
But what’s happened over the past several decades is that the media have broken up into more clearly defined partisan groups. Now, we have right-wing media and left-wing media. Each try to expose the other side’s corruption while ignoring their own. And both are equally concerned with advertisement revenue. So, they’ll say whatever they believe the public wants to hear in order to get the most viewers and listeners.
But in their attempt to garner the majority of Americans’ attention by saying things they think potential viewers want to hear, they’ve consistently lost viewers’ trust.
Now, according to a Gallup poll, trust in media is once again at an all-time low.
Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly” has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. This is down eight percentage points from last year.
Also according to the poll, Republicans have lost the most trust in the media. Only 14 percent of respondents indicated that they had confidence in the media, compared to a year ago when 32 percent expressed trust in the institution. By contrast, Democrats’ and Independents’ trust has remained largely unchanged.
Gallup postulates that the reason for such a drastic drop in confidence among self-identified Republicans is their perception of biased, negative coverage of Donald Trump and equally biased and unrealistically positive coverage of Hillary Clinton.