Trust in media plummets globally

Trust in media plummets globally. By Jennifer Oriel.

Ground control, we have a problem. There is a sea of red across Australia as public trust in democracy sinks into deficit.

The latest Edelman Trust Barometer survey reveals only 43 per cent of Australians trust the media “to do what is right” compared with 51 per cent in last year’s report. Trust in government (minus nine points) and non-government organisations (minus seven points) also has fallen.

Perhaps the most sobering finding is that 67 per cent of respondents in the global survey believe journalists “are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations”.

While the media is a broad category and the research shows greater faith in traditional than social media, 76 per cent of people express worry about fake news and false information. … Only 37 per cent report trusting social media compared with 57 per cent of res­pon­dents who trust traditional media. …

Those who live in the echo-chamber of mainstream media are constantly surprised by reality, and by the fact that the rest of us outside their bubble have different opinions:

The observed trust deficit in democracies stirs debate about the future of the free world and how we can sustain it. Western anti-establishment fervour took the liberal political-media class by surprise when Donald Trump was elected as US president and the British people’s vote went to Brexit. As Islamic State spread into the West, killing men, women and children, citizens of the free world decided the decades-long experiment with porous borders had come to an end. Political parties that preached globalism and ignored the patriotic zeitgeist lost elections to politicians determined to protect Western civilisation against international jihad.

Anger at the media grew as a result of the press demeaning pro-Western voters and falsely equating them with racists or uneducated morons. Liberal media ran such hate-filled campaigns against people who supported Trump and Brexit that it became seen, rightly, as a partisan force campaigning against the democratic will of the people. Instead of speaking truth to power, members of the media were more invested in preserving their own power than revealing unfashionable truths. …

What could journalists do to improve public trust in the media? The Australian Press Council outlines general principles for news organisations, including integrity and transparency: “Avoid publishing material which has been gathered by deceptive or unfair means, unless doing so is sufficiently in the public interest” …

The Press Council has to be kidding. The problem is that the ruling class and their media think they know best, and that misinforming us is “in the public interest”.