Maybe things aren’t so bad for media companies after all. Earlier this week, I wrote about the eroding trust consumers have in news media, both generally and for specific news brands. In that post, I cited a September poll from Gallup News Service found that Americans’ “trust and confidence” in mass media – newspapers, television, and radio – in “reporting news fully, accurately, and fairly” is just 44%. The percentage has hovered in the mid-40s for most of the last decade, dropping from an all-time high of 72% in 1976 to the mid- to low-50s in the 90s.
That’s sobering news if you are a journalist trading on credibility. In context though, 44% starts to look pretty good.
A new poll released this week by by AP-GfK makes it clear that it’s not just news organizations that American’s distrust; it’s everyone.
Only one-third of American’s say that most people can be trusted. And it seems like we’re talking about something more than cautious skepticism here. The poll found that 67%of Americans say “you can’t be too careful,” a kind of mistrust that stirs a defensive posture. (Perhaps the silver lining her, though, is that among those polled, only 34% claimed that someone in their household owned a gun. People may be mistrusting, but at least they are largely unarmed.)
Least trusted, according to the survey, are other drivers (39%), strangers met while traveling (29%) and the people who see your social media feed (29%).
While the poll didn’t mention journalists or media outlets, perhaps journalists can take some comfort in knowing they have an 11% trust advantage over “most people.”