The media has spent the past year claiming that “disinformation” poses a “grave threat to democracy”.
It built an infrastructure for embedding its “fact-checkers” into social media to serve as political censors. And it’s now amping up its campaign to transform its operations into non-profits that act as an actual fourth estate and determine who can say what.
Meanwhile, the majority of Americans believe that the media is a bunch of untrustworthy lying political hacks. Fact check: they’re right.
For the first time ever, fewer than half of all Americans have trust in traditional media, according to data from Edelman’s annual trust barometer shared exclusively with Axios. Trust in social media has hit an all-time low of 27%.
56% of Americans agree with the statement that “Journalists and reporters are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations.”
58% think that “most news organizations are more concerned with supporting an ideology or political position than with informing the public.”
When Edelman re-polled Americans after the election, the figures had deteriorated even further, with 57% of Democrats trusting the media and only 18% of Republicans.
That’s a bare majority even among Democrats.
This isn’t especially new. The last few months have drained even more percentage points from Republicans and Trump voters. But the media’s blatant partisanship is no secret to all but a handful of lefties so far leftward that they insist that the media is right-wing. Media credibility is low, but the problem is that people still widely get their news from it. Social media has lower trust than the media, which is not surprising because it’s become a clickbait sewer.
People don’t trust the media, but they consume it anyway. And that influences what they know, what they don’t know, and how they see the world.
That’s one of the challenges going forward.
America resembles a totalitarian country with an official propaganda press which no one trusts, but which is also the only source of news for most people who aren’t utilizing underground sources. No one really trusts anything they hear anymore leading to a meltdown of any kind of civic functionality. But at the same time, the propaganda press still shapes how people see the world. It just does so in a skewed fashion because the distrust is packaged in with the press.