Trust in the media plummets

Jessica Himelfarb is wary of the state of the news media.

She said in a recent interview at American University that amidst the publicity of fake news, she doesn’t trust the media to give her accurate information and inform her fully about what’s going on.

“It’s brought to the awareness of everyone the pervasiveness of fake news and inaccurate information and how politicians and journalists and news companies are making a profit in the United States, so they’re trying to sell a story instead of trying to get it right,” Himelfarb said.

Jessica Himelfarb at American University in July. By Courtney Cohn.

Himelfarb is not alone, as many people are skeptical of what they hear and see in the news especially after the 2016 election.

With claims of fake news being presented daily–even by President Donald Trump–the media is under more scrutiny than ever before and many people now believe that they can’t rely on the news sources they’ve always followed to get their news.

This affects how much people trust their news sources to give them the accurate, unbiased information they’re seeking.

According to a 2016 Gallup Poll, “Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly” has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. This is down eight percentage points from last year.”

As trust in the media plummets, the belief that the media should be investigating government officials remains a common idea for many Americans.

However, many people’s skepticism of the media urges them to believe that bias doesn’t allow for thorough investigations.

James Valentine, 71, wants the media to look into investigations to hold government officials accountable, but if they project bias into the news, then the investigations will not be very beneficial.

“If they just investigate them and let the facts dictate where they went, that’s what they should be doing, but if you investigate from the standpoint that you have a pre-perceived notion, it doesn’t do much good,” Valentine said.

Even though many people’s faith in the media has decreased in the last year, there are some exceptions to this trend.

Also according to a Gallup poll, Americans over the age of 50 are more likely to trust the media than people under 50 years old.

Alicia Rockmore, 52, trusts the media more with all of the news on the Trump administration’s involvement with Russia.

I feel more of a need to defend the media because they are actually the ones that are telling the truth,” Rockmore said. “To me they’re the heroes, they’re the ones that are digging out information that we need to know.”