Do you trust the news media?
Or, perhaps the better question in an era of sharp political divisions: Which media do you trust, or distrust, most?
The answer depends more than ever on who you ask.
A new national poll finds that 42 percent of Republicans say they no longer have confidence in America’s news media as a trustworthy source for information on political issues.
The Pew Research Center found that Republicans and Democrats and Republicans disagree at record levels about the role of the mainstream news media in society – whether it’s the watchdog of government with generous First Amendment latitude or a roadblock to sound public policy.
The divide is wide. From the Pew report:
“Today, in the early days of the Trump administration, roughly nine-in-10 Democrats (89 percent) say news media criticism keeps leaders in line – sometimes called the news media’s ‘watchdog role’ – while only about four-in-10 Republicans (42 percent) say the same,” researchers found. “That is a 47-percentage-point gap.”
In last year’s similar poll, the same question was asked – and nearly the same share of Democrats (74 percent) and Republicans (77 percent) supported the watchdog role.
Overall, 4 in 10 Americans report following national news “very closely,” up from 3 in 10 a year ago.
Also, 15 percent of Americans have “a lot of” trust in news they hear from friends or family – not much from the low level of trust they have in news delivered by local and national news organizations.