The Knight Foundation published its findings today on their study regarding “trust, media, and democracy.” In partnership with Gallup, they surveyed over 19,000 American adults ages 18 and older.
Overall, they found that eight in ten Americans believe that news media are critically important to our democracy. At the same time, the majority of Americans feel that the media performs this role poorly and ineffectively, failing to uphold the responsibility of keeping the public informed.
58 percent of Americans believe that the saturation of news sources in media is overwhelming, making it harder for them to distinguish between reliable and unreliable news sources. Accordingly, this makes it harder for Americans to stay well-informed on pertinent issues. Only 27 percent of Americans are “very confident” that their news sources are reporting factual news as opposed to commentary or opinion. Similarly, a majority of American adults consider “fake news” a serious threat to our democracy.
Less than half of Americans in this study could think of an objective news source. Their responses varied based on partisan affiliation, where Republicans overwhelmingly mentioned Fox News and Democrats mentioned NPR and CNN.
On a multi-item “trust scale” of 0-100, the average American scores a 37 when it comes to trusting news media.
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