Why don’t people trust the news and social media?

“Rebuilding trust will a long-term process and will require the commitment of publishers, platforms, and consumers over many years.”

new report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism offers a bit more insight into what’s driving distrust in news organizations across the world.

Working with YouGov, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalismpolled around 18,000 people across nine countries (U.S., Germany, UK, Ireland, Spain, Denmark, Australia, France, and Greece) to gather qualitative data about people’s trust in news and social media. After respondents were asked whether they agreed with statements like “the news media does a good job in helping me distinguish fact from fiction,” they were invited to share their reasons in an open-ended text box. Reuters’ Nic Newman and Richard Fletcher coded these 7,915 responses to categorize the issues and concerns that are fueling peoples’ distrust.

Here’s some of what they found:

— Why don’t people trust the news? Concern about bias, spin, and hidden agendas. Two-thirds of people (67 percent) cited one of these factors as a reason they don’t trust what they read. Unsurprisingly, concerns about political biases were particularly significant in the U.S., where 34 percent of respondents who distrusted news media cited concerns about political bias as the reason why. This concern is even more acute among those on the political right, who were three times more likely to distrust the news media than those on the left. (Three responses featured in the report: “Liberal media is full of bullshit and lies,” “Fox News keeps it fair; CNN tells us left-wing lies,” and “They are so far to the left, they might fall off.”)

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