Friday, October 06, 2017

Public trust in news media rebounds

In good news for journalists, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll says public trust in the news media is on the upswing. "The poll of more than 14,300 people found that the percentage of adults who said they had a “great deal” or “some” confidence in the press rose to 48 percent in September from 39 percent last November. Earlier this year, Trump branded the entire industry as the 'enemy of the American people,'" Chris Kahn reports for Reuters. Meanwhile, "the percentage of those who said they had 'hardly any' confidence in the press dropped to 45 percent from 51 percent over the same period."

The public's confidence in President Trump's administration is going in the opposite direction. In late January, Reuters/Ipsos found that 52 percent of Americans had a 'great deal' or 'some' confidence in the new president, but that dropped to 51 percent in May and 48 percent in the latest poll. Kahn says that shift isn't just Democrats disliking a Republican president. "From January to September, the percentage of people who had a 'great deal' or 'some' confidence in the executive branch dropped 6 percentage points among Republicans and 3 points among Democrats. The percentage of those who expressed similar levels of confidence in the media rose 3 points this year among Republicans and 11 points among Democrats," Kahn reports.

Why is the shift in public opinion happening? Presidential historian Martha Kumar said people are beginning to recognize the importance of the press because of a president whose campaign is under federal investigation for alleged collusion with Russia. And different media outlets offer differing perspectives on Trump, she said, so people can find a press source they like, whether they support Trump or not.

"Ari Fleischer, former Republican President George W. Bush’s first press secretary, said any shift in the way people viewed the press and the president was likely the product of an oppositional relationship that both sides had pushed since the 2016 presidential campaign," Kahn reports. "But the press has played into it by the mistakes they’ve made, by missing the rise of Trump, by being too liberal," Fleischer added. "They’ve helped create this environment."

No comments: