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Americans’ Trust in the Media Declining


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Donald Trump has recently become a leading figure in the fight against “fake news,” and the general public seems to follow his lead on calling out media bias as well as fabricated news that has caused some uproar recently.

Many Americans are now leaning towards a mistrust of the media. A 2016 national poll by Gallup showed that only 32% of Americans had a “great deal” of trust for the media, down from 50% of people in 2005. The majority of people in America now hold some skepticism or full distrust of the media, which signals a major downfall for the news industry.

The majority’s distrust of the media has been recently perpetuated by many leading figures in the United States. Donald Trump and Stephen Bannon, two prominent figures in America, have recently voiced their distaste for “fake news”. During his first major press conference, Donald Trump addressed unproven claims published by Buzzfeed News, which was later picked up on by CNN. He discussed the severity of the claims as well as stating his disapproval for the story. Trump stated, “I think it’s a disgrace that information that was false and fake and never happened got released to the public.”

Steve Bannon, a chief strategist for the Trump organization as well as a member of the National Security Council, has also detailed his feelings about the media. In an interview with the New York Times, Bannon said, “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.” Bannon continued, “The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country.”

Fake news is not only spread by the media, Donald Trump’s advisor Kellyanne Conway has also recently been accused of spreading misinformation to prove her points. In an interview with NBC News, Conway defended Press Secretary Sean Spicer by saying he spread “alternative facts” rather than admitting that he spread false information. Conway has also been under the spotlight herself when she cited the fictional “Bowling Green Massacre” to support Donald Trump’s recent executive order on Islamic refugees.

The media has always been a presence in American history, and freedom of the press is protected in the first amendment of the constitution.

Mr. Cowley, US government teacher, displayed his feelings about the importance and need for the media by saying, “Unfortunately, it seems that many media outlets function as more of a spin machine instead of actually unbiased news reporting.” Cowley continued “The last few election cycles have been eye-opening as far as media bias on both sides of the political spectrum.” Cowley also believes that irresponsible reporting is a growing problem, saying, “Historically speaking, there has always been the problem of media bias, spin, and downright false reporting, but perhaps not to the degree of today.”

Mrs. Reyes, journalism teacher, also feels very strongly about the concept of good journalism and fake news. Reyes believes that citizens are obligated by civic duty to hold journalists accountable.

“When it comes to having a trustworthy press, the citizens of a society are just as responsible as the journalists in society,” she said. “I think the state of the media is a reflection on the apathy of the public.”

Reyes continued on the importance of the media and the role of the younger generations to keep it in check.

“I think that what we are lacking is that sense of urgency in understanding and teaching the importance of media in regards to the public. I think that it is important for young people to understand they are living in a remarkable time…, It is like an elevated sense of power, and with that there is an elevated sense of responsibility.”

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Americans’ Trust in the Media Declining