New data from Edelman shows that American trust in media is at all-time low.
While 56% believe that journalists and reporters are purposely trying to mislead, 58% think news organizations are more interested in ideology than facts, and only 18% of Republicans trust the media versus 57% of Democrats.
As a whole, 46% of Americans of all political stripes say they trust the media.
Moreover, media trust is at lows around the world indicating a global phenomenon, and poll finds CEOs and business leaders are the most trusted figures in America
Trust in the media is at an all-time low, with less than half of all Americans and just 18 percent of Republicans saying they trust traditional media outlets.
‘This is the era of information bankruptcy,’ said Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman, in a statement.
‘We’ve been lied to by those in charge, and media sources are seen as politicized and bias[ed]. The result is a lack of quality information and increased divisiveness,’ he said.
The poll found that 56 percent 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.’
Trust in traditional media hit an all-time low this year, with just 46% of Americans saying they trust traditional media.
The poll found a 15-point drop in media trust among Trump supporters (18 percent) since November, opening up a staggering 39-point gap with Biden voters
Nearly the same share, 58 percent, think that ‘most news organizations are more concerned with supporting an ideology or political position than with informing the public.’
These figures are close to the average across 27 countries included in the Edelman survey, indicating that fading trust in the media is not an American phenomenon.
Republican trust in traditional media plunged following the 2020 election, when Donald Trump pressed claims of election theft that were not borne out by facts, and were rejected by traditional media outlets.
The poll found a 15-point drop in media trust among Trump supporters (18 percent) since November, opening up a staggering 39-point gap with Biden voters (57 percent).
Among the countries surveyed, trust in the media was highest in Indonesia and China, and lowest in Russia and Japan.
Followers of QAnon were told to ‘trust the plan’, not the media, and viewed journalists as either clueless or in cahoots with a globalist Satan-worshiping cabal of pedophiles
The U.S. figures are similar to the global average (above) from 27 countries on questions of media trust, indicating that it is a worldwide phenomenon
‘Fifty-seven percent of Americans find the political and ideological polarization so extreme that they believe the U.S. is in the midst of a cold civil war,’ Edelman said.
‘The violent storming of the U.S. Capitol last week and the fact that only one-third of people are willing to get a Covid vaccine as soon as possible crystallize the dangers of misinformation,’ the CEO continued.
The survey found that business has emerged in the pandemic as the most trusted institution, with 61 percent trust worldwide.
Business is the only institution deemed ethical and competent by a majority in the survey, with business outscoring government by 48 points on competency and approaching NGOs in ethics.
Media trust was the lowest in Russia and Japan, and highest in China and Indonesia.
Edelman said that trust continues to move local, with respondents placing even higher reliance on ‘my employer’ at 76 percent, and ‘my employer CEO’ at 63 percent.
International trust dropped precipitously in the world’s two largest economies.
Respondents from the other markets surveyed deeply distrust the U.S. (40 percent) government.
Trust among American citizens for their own government, in the bottom quartile of countries as of November, dropped a further 5 points post-election (43 percent), a score, which would place it ahead of only Japan and Russia.
American trust in the media hits an all-time low
Fewer than half of Americans trust mainstream media, according to PR firm Edelman’s annual “trust barometer.” But rather than attempt to repair the relationship, media outlets blame their audience’s poor ‘information hygiene.’
Long headed for collapse, Americans’ trust in the media establishment hit an all time low in 2021, falling three points overall to just 46 percent, according to Edelman’s most recent annual survey. The figure marks the first time Americans’ trust of journalism sank below the 50 percent mark.
Americans’ trust in social media also hit rock bottom, clocking in at a miserable 27 percent, according to Edelman’s annual “trust barometer.”
Globally, people’s faith in social media wasn’t much better, with just 35 percent of users deeming it a trustworthy source for “general news and information.”
Survey respondents did not hesitate to expound on their dim view of the journalistic profession, either – 56 percent of Americans agreed the media was “purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations,” while 58 percent agreed most outlets were “more concerned with supporting an ideology or political position than informing the public.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, breaking the numbers up by political party revealed a sharp contrast between Biden and Trump voters, with only 18 percent of the latter crowd deeming the media trustworthy in the wake of November’s presidential election. Even among Democrats, however, only 57 percent deemed the media trustworthy.
Conservatives, including the offspring of former president Donald Trump, took to social media to roll their eyes at what for them was stating the obvious. Most establishment outlets had after all been gushing about President Joe Biden’s inauguration in truly outrageous terms, comparing his inaugural speech to that of JFK and waxing poetic about Vice President Kamala Harris’ hair.
Others brought up dubious connections to “independent” media – including Edelman itself – suggesting the trust crisis had less to do with the media losing its touch than it did with Americans becoming more savvy regarding their manipulation.
The only group trusted by a majority of Americans out of Government, Media, NGOs, and Business in 2021 was, ironically, Big Business – even though corporations largely pull the strings of the media, politics, and the other institutions so many Americans seem to agree are not trustworthy.
Axios and other opportunistic journalists reading Edelman’s 2021 report have called for these CEOs to “visibly embrace the news media” in order to burnish the media’s public image.
“Now it’s time for [CEOs] to use the trust they have built up to help rebuild our civic infrastructure,”Axios concluded, specifically referring to outreach to Trump voters, whose trust in CEOs (61 percent) runs 40 points higher than their trust in the media. However, given conservatives’ unabashed loathing for mainstream media, the plan could backfire and drag corporations down a few notches in the MAGA (Make America Great Again) crowd’s estimation.
Even while admitting that media distrust was a global issue rather than “a function of Donald Trump’s war on ‘fake news,’” Axios appeared to blame its audience for their refusal to put their faith in the Fourth Estate, posting a series of links tipping worried journalists off on why their propaganda might be missing the mark.
Clutching pearls on topics from the Covid-19 pandemic and “vaccine hesitancy” to the U.S. election scandals, the overarching message was simple – do not confuse your audience with opinions other than the one you want them to have.
Americans’ own distrust in the majority of their institutions does not bode well for the U.S.’ “brand,” Edelman’s survey revealed.
Other countries have apparently been paying attention, as trust in companies headquartered in the U.S. fell four points to what was reportedly an all-time low of 51 percent.