"Don’t believe everything you hear", we have all heard that expression before. I tried to find the origin of the quote without any luck. But unfortunately it appears more factual than ever. Gallup has just released a poll on the public’s level of trust in the accuracy America’s mass media. The poll showed that only 9% of Americans have a “great deal” of trust in the media, 38% say they have a “fair amount” of trust and a full 52% have “not very much trust, or none at all” in the media. That level is double the level of distrust the American public held just thirty years ago, it is no wonder that viewership/readership continue to plummet, along with industry revenue.
What has caused this erosion of confidence is directly related to multiple high profile reporting misadventures that the news media has experienced in recent memory.
The most recent news media misadventure was last week’s “Rush Limbaugh/Phony Soldiers” misquote. First let me admit, I am a regular listener of Rush, and I was listening when the subject of the “Phony Soldiers” came up. At the time, I don’t recall anything news worthy about the discussion, so I was surprised when the story hit the news wires shortly after the show was over.
When I heard what Rush was reported to have said, I thought I must have missed it, so when Rush posted the transcript of the conversation, I read it over. The posted transcript pretty well matched, the way I remembered it. Rush never referred to the entire American Military in a derogatory way as the news media has portrayed or anything approximating that. The discussion with the caller was in reference to those who pretend to have a certain level of expertise in war but in reality don’t, but then express their political opinions as if they did i.e. “Phony Soldiers”. Later, I found out that ABC News did a story 2 days earlier on the same subject that probably inspired Rush’s caller to call in.
Not only was this false quote plastered over every news outlet in the country, it has gotten so far as having a motion made in the U.S. Senate condemning the nonexistent quote. Today, I hear that there will be yet another Congressional investigation this time on Rush Limbaugh. No wonder Congress’s confidence level is at an all-time low, it matches the American public’s opinion of the news media per the Gallup poll.
Thirty years ago, the news media still had a perceived impartiality, unlike today. Since then, we have grown accustomed to having major stories plastered all over television, radio and newspapers only to find out later that the story was either misconstrued, or even made up altogether. And if a retraction is ever made, it is buried deep where the majority of viewers/readers never see it.
Now, if these concocted stories didn’t always support the same political viewpoint, I could pass this off as just business, after all retractions don’t sell newspapers. Like congress, the viewpoint of the news media is at odds with the views of the majority of the American public, and until that changes, industry opinion polls as well as the ultimate poll, industry revenue will continue to falter.Sphere: Related Content