Skip to comments.Report: Trust in journalism has hit all-time low
Posted on 03/17/2005 6:21:45 AM PST by KeyLargo
Report: Trust in journalism has hit all-time low
By Breeanna Hare and C.C. Song, Daily Staff Reporters March 17, 2005
Trust in journalism has hit new lows, according to the second annual State of the Media Report.
Published by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, the report showed that in the past 17 years, the public has come to see the press as self-serving and discreditable. The number of those who thought the press was highly professional fell from 72 percent to 49 percent, while the number of those who thought the press covered-up its mistakes rose from 13 percent to 67 percent.
This lack of trust has translated into a decline in readership as the State of the Media also showed. According to the report, the number of newspaper readers has fallen from its height, 75 percent in 1992, to 60 percent in 2004, due to distrust and other factors.
People cannot trust the news if they do not respect it, and this has been a long-term trend, said former CNN and Newsweek journalist and Communication Studies Prof. Anthony Collings.
The problem is that news organizations underestimate their audience; they believe they have to dumb it down. This may increase the numbers, but it will decrease the respect for the news, Collings said.
Brent Cunningham, the managing editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, a magazine that is associated with Columbia University, said the increasing popularity of the Internet has contributed to the decrease in newspaper readership.
I think (reporters) today cherry-pick facts and ignore the arguments that are in the way. The other thing is that the people have disengaged from serious media in this country. Technology has allowed us to isolate ourselves and be selective in terms of media, agree with what we observe and disagree with what we dont observe, Cunningham said.
He added that there is also long-term distrust in journalists.
I think polls for the last 20 years have shown the public increasingly less trustful of the press, and I think the reasons for it are many and complicated and its not always just the journalists fault although press has done a lot to shoot ourselves in the foot, not just CBS, not Jayson Blair, all the way back to Janet Cooke case in 1980.
Jayson Blair of The New York Times was fired for plagiarism and fabrication. CBSs production, 60 Minutes, broke a fabricated story on President Bushs military record. In addition, Dan Ratherwas also criticized for swaying the audience towards a political bias. Janet Cooke of The Washington Post made up a story about a boy named Jimmy, supposedly an 8-year-old heroin addict that generated controversy.
Michigan State University Communications Prof. Howard Bossen believes the recent national decline in the trust of newspaper journalism affects everyone, including students on college campuses.
Bossen also said that while there is no single reason why the public is losing trust in the media, he believes it can partly be attributed to the variety of news sources that have become available.
Students need to pay more attention to the media in general. When I ask my students if they watched 60 Minutes, relatively few hands go up, he said. We have a big confusion in society about what is news and what are talking heads masquerading as news, said Bossen.
University of Michigan English Prof. Laurence Goldstein agreed. We have the highest forms of journalistic talent available if students are willing to seek out quality sources, he said. He cited The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal as examples of what students should be reading for verifiable information.
As the editor of the Michigan Quarterly Review, he said he believes the distinction between quality journalism and the talking heads that Bossen spoke of is a form of journalism that satisfies intellectual curiosity with depth of analysis and a style of writing that provides insight.
Goldstein added that the popularity of broadcast news has contributed to the decline in quality journalism.
People are depending on the TV for news; that is a problem. The one thing the TV cannot do is give analysis and commentary, said Goldstein.
The bottom line is that we live in an argumentative culture, Collings said. When you get people worked up about an issue in the news, they tend to attack the messengers, which are the journalists. In this politically charged atmosphere, mistakes get more attention than they deserve.
Yes, there is a "single reason."
The "Sub-Media" as John Scary likes to call it, is TRUTH-BASED, and unbiased.
Lookie here - someone in the MSM finally got it right.
The one thing the TV cannot do is give analysis and commentary, said Goldstein.
Sadly, in the past, that trust was misplaced.
i agree, i hate it when people look at TV or radio and claim it isn't "real news." I can learn more from watching one episode of o'reilly than i can by reading an entire year's worth of this NYT subscription i was forced to buy for one of my classes.
This is the forum that feeds talk radio. Without the internet we'd still be at the mercy of America's haters.
60 Minutes is a good example of 'talking heads masquerading as news' if I ever saw one. They don't ask the question why the students weren't watching 60 minutes, they just told them they should. Arrogant lame-stream media!
Distrust of propaganda has reached an all-time high.
Those people instantly think that if you don't arrive at their own conclusions, you must be misled and unable to think correctly. The problem they have is that people ARE paying attention to news these days - just not their news. There's a reason why fox news shatters competitors and it isn't because they're an evil propoganda organization leading mindless sheep around.
Whatever the reason for the decline of the Legacy MediaTM, it is absolutely, positively not the fact that we're all liberal shills who will say or do anything to further our agenda, and that we're increasingly being caught in The Lie. That simply can't be the problem. There must be something else going on.
Its the Internet! Yeah, that's the ticket!
Bias masqueraded as objective Truth is at large fault for the decline.
I stopped watching the MSM before I became a conservative. I can pin point the period. 1998. Clinton's wagging finger of denial. That did it. That was the height of insult.
I do not wish to be informed by a machine that is an extension of the DNC body, and pretends otherwise.
Also partly to blame is the rapidity of the news and alternative forms to seek fact and commentary instantaneously. By the next day or late evening everything covered is usually already known.
I'm still waiting for the media's story on how a guy can get three Purple Hearts in four months without missing a single day of duty. But I'm just a stupid tech sergeant, so what do I know?
Why has trust in mainstream media plummeted? How about some anecdotal evidence. During Whitewater numerous media types descended on a bait shop in Arkansas to speak to some backwater boob about being paid to concoct evidence adverse to the Clintons. During the 2004 Presidential campaign over 100 former Swiftboat Veterans went public with tons of real evidence about Kerry's sham heroism. None in the mainstream media would give them the time of day despite their own heroic records, awards and lack of infernal motive.
"University of Michigan English Prof. Laurence Goldstein agreed. We have the highest forms of journalistic talent available if students are willing to seek out quality sources, he said. He cited The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal as examples of what students should be reading for verifiable information."
Any jerk who says the NY Times is anything other than a bulls**t rag is to be shunned!
There was no greater waste of personal resources and effort in my entire life than the money and time I threw away going to college to pursue an "education" getting a "sheepskin". Jackasses like Goldstein, who pollute every nook and cranny of today's leftist-controlled academic institutions, are why I always tell young people to look for every possible alternative to this sickening experience.
"I'm still waiting for the media's story on how a guy can get three Purple Hearts in four months without missing a single day of duty. But I'm just a stupid tech sergeant, so what do I know?"
If the main stream media had any credibility at all, we'd all know how that was possible and the status of Kerry's form 180 would be front page news.