Less Than Half Of All Americans Trust The Media, Traditional Or Alternative!  What Can The Media Do To Restore Its Trust Factor?

Less Than Half Of All Americans Trust The Media, Traditional Or Alternative! What Can The Media Do To Restore Its Trust Factor?

Americans' trust in the media is plummeting. What can the media do to regain public trust?

Raghavan Mayur
Raghavan Mayur

Trust in traditional media slid for the second month in a row.  Trust in alternative media took an even sharper dive in May.   In a TIPP poll completed in late April,

  • 53% do NOT trust traditional media, while 40% do.
  • 60% do NOT trust alternative media, while 29% do.

To enable easy comparison over time, we have converted percentages to a compact index.  The indexes range from 0 to 100.  Above 50 is the trust territory, and below 50 is lack of trust, with 50 being the neutral point.

The TIPP Traditional Media Trust Index dropped 3.0 points or 6.4%, from 47.1 in April to 44.1 in May.

The TIPP Alternative Media Trust Index had a sharp slide of 6.0 points or 13.7%, from 43.9 in April to 37.9 in May.

Responses to the following question form the basis of the Traditional Media Index:  Generally speaking, how much trust do you have in the traditional or established news media (Example: Washington Post, New York Times, NPR, CBS News, etc.) to report the news accurately and fairly?

The chart below shows the tally of responses:

Responses to the following question form the basis of the Alternative Media Index:  Generally speaking, how much trust do you have in the alternative news media (Example: New York Post, Washington Times, NewsMax, The Daily Caller, RealClearPolitics, etc.) to report the news accurately and fairly?

We present the results below:

TechnoMetrica started tracking Americans' trust in media in March of this year.

Relevance

Many Americans think that the media is part of the problem and a significant contributor to lack of unity and misinformation in our country.

In Their Own Words

The recent speech by Lesley Stahl, 60 Minutes correspondent, is self-explanatory.

"I know our credibility has been shredded," said Stahl. "And while Donald Trump went a long way to make those tears, he didn't start it. It was that way for many years before he became president. We have a problem."

Paul Sperry, senior investigative reporter for RealClearInvestigations, New York Post columnist, and former Washington bureau chief for Investor’s Business Daily explained that too much of the prestige media today suppress stories that don’t fit their narrative — or spike stories that destroy their narrative -- in what he calls “bias by omission":

"For instance, they all agreed to spike the Monica Lewinsky story, which was an open secret in Washington. More recently, they all conspired to protect the identity of the impeachment whistleblower, Eric Ciaramella. And now they are doing the same with the black Capitol Police officer who shot unarmed Ashli Babbitt. They all know who he is, but they won’t run the story. Also, the New York Times and other media are deliberately not telling the public that the vast majority of attacks on Asians across the country are being perpetrated by African-Americans. These news outlets have concealed the race of the attackers in most cases, while still reporting the attacks and Asian reaction to the attacks (see today’s NYT piece about Asian mass buying of mace in Manhattan). The real story, suppressed for months, is a rash of black-on-Asian hate crime, not white-on-Asian hate crime, which is why Asians are hiring the Proud Boys for protection. And of course, we all know how the prestige media teamed up with social media to kill the Hunter Biden laptop story before the election. They are still avoiding covering the Hunter Biden story at all costs. This is bias by neglect and omission, all to protect Democrats or political narratives, which is almost as bad as manufacturing fake news (Russiagate) and smearing Republicans and conservatives," Sperry explained.

Behind The Numbers

The declines were broad-based for both the traditional and the alternative media.

The Traditional Media Index fell across the board in May, with 30 of the 36 demographic groups we track showing a decline.  The Alternative Media Index fared slightly worse, with 33 of the 36 groups falling in May.

Ten groups trust the traditional media, and one single group trusts the alternative media.

The three-month moving averages of the Traditional Media Trust Index and the Alternative Media Trust Index for various demographic categories are shown in the table below.

(Three Month Simple Moving Average)

Regaining Trust

Regaining trust is going to be a long, hard slog.  Trust is not a switch you can turn on or off.  The TIPP organization is not media experts; we are polling experts.   But, as consumers of news, we can offer up a few suggestions that might help. Perhaps the following ten steps would be a good place to start.

Suggested Actions For Enhanced Trust in Media, Both Traditional and Alternative:

  1. Be professional. Follow the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) code of ethics.
  2. Focus solely on reporting the news and hard facts rather than shaping a narrative.
  3. Do not suppress, or spike, stories that do not fit preconceived narratives. Report all the news, regardless if it furthers an editorial agenda.
  4. Try to minimize personal bias—separate journalism from personal political views. Give your readers or viewers unfiltered factual information.
  5. Provide news impartially and let the viewers decide for themselves. The responsibility of a news organization is to deliver the news, not interpret it for the reader/viewer.
  6. Generally speaking, lean towards more transparency than less.
  7. Tell the whole story. Tell the beginning, the middle, and the end, and don't start from the middle.
  8. Don't underestimate the intelligence of your readers or viewers.
  9. Periodically introspect and develop best practices.
  10. And last but not least, don't ever invent stories. It is malpractice of the worst kind.

TIPP Trust Indexes are an independent and unbiased tool that both the media and the general public can use to track Americans' trust in the media.  If the media, traditional or alternative, wants to regain the public's confidence, it can.  If it does not reverse its present loss of trust, it is hard to imagine how it will hold an audience in the years ahead.


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TIPP Takes

Martin Bashir: Inquiry Criticises BBC Over 'Deceitful' Diana Interview

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Princess Diana's Interview With Martin Bashir
  • The BBC fell short of "high standards of integrity and transparency" over Martin Bashir's 1995 interview with Princess Diana, an inquiry has found.
  • Bashir acted in a "deceitful" way and faked documents to obtain the interview, the inquiry said.
  • It was the first time a serving royal had spoken so openly about life in the Royal Family - viewers saw her speak about her unhappy marriage to Prince Charles, their affairs, and her bulimia.
  • The BBC said the report showed "clear failings," admitting it should have made more effort to get to the bottom of what happened at the time. The corporations' own internal probe in 1996 into what happened was "woefully ineffective."
  • This report will not just injure the BBC, but scar it.
  • The report also shows the power and merit of journalism. It is thanks to determined reporters, not least at the Daily Mail group and the Sunday Times, that we today have the first complete account of the real story behind the most remarkable - and arguably consequential - interview in television history.

Beijing-Backed Drawing Contest In Turkey Backfires As Students Submit Depictions Of Xinjiang Abuses

  • A drawing competition launched by the Chinese Embassy in Turkey to promote interest in China among students, and mark the 50th anniversary of ties between the two nations, appears to have backfired.
  • Several submissions depicting state-backed repression policies in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) were posted online.
  • Students must submit their entries between May 3 and June 13, and winners travel to China, where they visit Beijing, Shanghai, and Xi'an.
  • Turkey is home to more than 50,000 of the world's nearly 12 million Uyghurs, who historically have viewed their fellow Turkic nation as a refuge and advocate for their religious and cultural rights.
  • On social media, critics of the competition have shared drawings, including one of Chinese President Xi Jinping surrounded by Uyghur skulls.
  • Another shows a man dressed in clothing made of the Chinese flag putting his hand over an Uyghur's mouth, expressing the idea that Uyghurs have no freedom of speech.
  • The Turkish Writers' Union recently issued a statement calling on the Turkish Ministry of Education to immediately cancel the "China in my Dreams" contest, calling it "unacceptable."

Samoa To Scrap China-Backed Port Project Under New Leader Fiame Naomi Mata'afa

  • Samoa's expected new prime minister has pledged to cancel a $128 million Chinese-backed port development, calling it excessive for the tiny Pacific island already heavily indebted to China.
  • Fiame Naomi Mata'afa, the opposition leader, set to become Samoa's first female prime minister after a weeks-long political impasse, said she intended to maintain good relations with China, but she had more pressing needs to address than the port project.
  • The project has also threatened to spark a waterfront contest in the Pacific as the United States and its allies respond to China's growing influence in the region.
  • According to a report in the Samoa Observer, the project was in the final stages of negotiation with China, with work set to begin when international borders reopen.
  • Samoa, which relies on subsistence farming and tourism, fish, and coconut product exports, had turned to bigger nations for development funding even before the coronavirus pandemic disrupted trade and suspended tourism.

First Ships Dock At Kenya's Lamu Deep Water Port (Reuters)

  • NAIROBI - The first ships docked at Kenya's deepwater Lamu Port. The country looks to open a new transport corridor linking its vast northern region and neighboring nations to the sea.
  • The Lamu Port, built by China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), will cost $3 billion to complete over several years.
  • It will compete with ports in Djibouti and Sudan, and Kenya's main port of Mombasa.
  • There are, however, security concerns given the port's proximity to Somalia, from where al Shabaab militants make frequent incursions against targets on the lonely roads that cut across the jungles surrounding Lamu.
  • Kenya is building several roads from Lamu towards its borders with Ethiopia and South Sudan. It also plans to eventually build a railway network and a crude oil pipeline to Lamu.
  • A Chinese-built modern railway on that route angered cargo operators in 2019 when the government forced all importers to use it, instead of roads, to recoup the investment faster.

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