BOSTON (CBS) – Surprise, surprise.
According to a new Gallup poll, public trust and confidence in the media to “report the news fully, accurately and fairly” has sunk to the lowest point since they began asking the question in 1972.
Just 32-percent of us express trust in the media, a drop of eight points in only a year.
Back in the mid-1970s, after the media delivered the truth about Watergate, that number hit an all-time peak of 72-percent, but over the last decade or so it’s been look-out-below.
The dropoff has been especially sharp among Republicans, where trust in the media has plummeted from 32-percent last year to 14-percent.
This is what happens in an era of information silos when your preferred sources spend much of their time complaining about media bias, real and imagined.
These results may be no big deal to media outlets interested only in clicks, ratings and buzz who couldn’t care less about earning public trust.
But for the rest of us, it’s a challenge to do better.
We have to redouble our commitment to checking facts. The internet has proven to be an accelerant for rumors and lies, but it is also an amazing resource for research, one we don’t make enough use of.
And every newsroom should pay more attention to how we present those facts. We have to be more aware of snarky phrases that too often convey bias, even where it’s unintended.
Some people are addicted to conspiracy theories, and they will never be persuaded to trust us. But I think most people just want us to be careful, professional, and show them we’re really trying.
And that doesn’t seem like too much to ask.
Listen to Jon’s commentary: