American trust in the media is falling to new lows, unaided by President Donald Trump’s outspoken negative views of the press and news organizations. But in a time where “fake news” and “alternative facts” swirl about us like smoke from a fire, the need for journalists fact-checking and combing through truths and lies is more important than ever.
The numbers aren’t good: Pew Research, a non-partisan research think-tank, recently found that just 22 percent of Americans say they trust local news “a lot.” Even less, about 18 percent, trust national media “a lot.” At the same time, Pew found, 64 percent of Americans think that fake news causes a “great deal” of confusion about “basic facts of current events.”
But why is that the case? What has changed in recent years? And how are newsrooms adapting to a world that doubts their credibility?
On Friday’s Behind the Headlines on St. Louis on the Air, we discussed the state of trust in the news with people who make journalism decisions every day and with a researcher who has charted Americans’ relationship with the news over the years. We also heard from listeners about what makes them trust — or distrust — news sources.
Joining the program were St. Louis Public Radio’s Executive Editor Shula Neuman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editor Gilbert Bailon and Amy Mitchell, the Director of Journalism Research at Pew Research.
St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.