Journalists are at the top of the list of institutional elites who have lost the public’s trust, according to a new survey.
Disillusionment with the media is only getting worse.
The 2022 Edelman “Trust Barometer,” an annual global survey, found 67% of respondents believe journalists and reporters “are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations.”
That means people trust journalists less than they trust leaders in business and government, although the margins are close.
- And it’s only getting worse from year to year: The number of people who said journalists are purposely misleading the public jumped by 8 percentage points between 2020 and 2021.
- The percentage of Americans concerned about “fake news” is up by 2 points since 2020.
- Nearly three-quarters (74%) of Americans “worry about false information or fake news being used as a weapon,” according to Edelman’s latest report.
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
The corporate media’s response to cratering trust has been to double-down on institutional explanations to the crisis.
“We have to recognize that we live in such a chaotic information age. People need trusted brokers to help them figure out what’s true and what’s not,” Bill Adair, the founder of fact-checking website PolitiFact, told Pulitzer.org for an article describing newsroom efforts aimed at restoring readers’ trust by battling “disinformation” and achieving “transparency.”
- But such solutions have failed to address critics’ core complaints that the media is often biased, partisan and out of touch with the broader public.
- A 2019 Pew survey found that nearly half of Americans believe fact-checkers are biased, and 70% of those skeptics are Republican.