The media’s numbers have been bad for a while. But the numbers are in free fall and hitting catastrophic depths.
Even as the media keeps falsely insisting that it performs some sort of public service (it’s just a messaging operation for the Left) and that it’s fact-based (it’s not, it routinely deploys fact checking against its narrative opponents while failing to fact check its own narratives), its readership and viewership keeps falling to new lows.
The media’s entire case against Facebook (currently being propped up by a fake whistleblower) is that conservative content gets more engagement than its own left-wing content.
(Sift through all the buzzwords, the concern trolling, and all the pretense of caring about civics, and this is the only substantive issue.)
But the media’s engagement problem isn’t due to some Russian-Facebook-Conservative algorithm conspiracy. It’s there in the poll numbers.
Americans’ trust in the media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly has edged down four percentage points since last year to 36%, making this year’s reading the second lowest in Gallup’s trend.
In all, 7% of U.S. adults say they have “a great deal” and 29% “a fair amount” of trust and confidence in newspapers, television and radio news reporting — which, combined, is four points above the 32% record low in 2016, amid the divisive presidential election campaign between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. In addition, 29% of the public currently registers “not very much” trust and 34% have “none at all.”
This is a crisis of confidence that the media will meet by blaming “echo chambers” and “authoritarian populists” and the other buzzword salads it uses to explain why the public’s rejection of its radical narratives is really their fault, not its fault.
Between 1972 and 1976, 68% to 72% of Americans expressed trust in the mass media; yet, by 1997, when the question was next asked, trust had dropped to 53%. Trust in the media, which has averaged 45% since 1997, has not reached the majority level since 2003.
The only people who do trust the media agree with its political narratives.
Currently, 68% of Democrats, 11% of Republicans and 31% of independents say they trust the media a great deal or fair amount.
Historically, Republicans’ confidence in the accuracy and fairness of the news media’s reporting has not risen above 52% over the past quarter century. At the same time, Democrats’ confidence has not fallen below the 2016 reading of 51%. For their part, independents’ trust in the media has not been at the majority level since 2003.
The media has alienated everyone who doesn’t share its political views, yet keeps insisting that the lack of trust is due to populism and echo chambers rather than its own increasingly blatant biases that taint anything it puts out.