Looking for an Alternative? Nearly No Americans Trust the News Media

Looking for an Alternative? Nearly No Americans Trust the News Media © AFP 2016/ Emmanuel Dunand

23:00 18.04.2016(updated 02:46 19.04.2016) Get short URL

You’d be hard pressed to find an American that trusts the media these days, citing skepticism, bias, and inaccuracy, though Democrats are more likely to believe than Republicans or Independents.

Only 6% of those polled asserted that they have “a lot of confidence” in the media, according to a new study by the Media Insight Project, a partnership of The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the American Press Institute.

The survey found that accuracy is the biggest issue Americans have with the media, with nearly 90% of people stating that it is extremely or very important for the press to have their facts correct.

Approximately 40% claimed that they couldn’t remember a specific incident that made them lose their faith in the media, but most often the study found that trust was lost after incidents that involved accuracy or a clear editorial bias.

With fierce competition from alternative media, as well as instant updates on news events on social media, such as Twitter, the push to be first appears to be forcing outlets to publish without necessarily waiting for the facts.

“The most important thing that news organizations can do is be accurate, and while we know that is a high value, this study reinforces that,” Margaret Sullivan, public editor of The New York Times — a paper that has been widely criticised as currently having a strong bias in favor of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — told AP. “Even if it goes against the competitive push to be first, she said, “perhaps there has to be a willingness to wait a little bit to be right.”

Meanwhile, publishers of some of the largest online news outlets have been in a panic amid layoffs. In the month of April alone, Mashable laid off 30 people and Salon is in the process of downsizing as well.

The poll was conducted from February 18 through March 21, and used a sample of 2,014 adults. The margin of error for their findings was plus or minus 2.9%.

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