Trust in Media Plummets During COVID-19 Pandemic

Public trust in media may have reached an all-time low during the covid-19 pandemic. A recent Axios-Harris Poll on corporate trust reveals the public currently has a negative view of media -- minus five to be exact.

Meanwhile, public trust in doctors/nurses/hospitals is at 47 percent and grocery stores 35 percent, followed by technology and the food and beverage industry.

Jeff McCall, professor of media studies at DePauw University, says cable news outlets and the networks have really been exposed for who they are during this pandemic.

“The fact that some of these cable channels are running on-screen scoreboards all the time with coronavirus death counts and case numbers really is not helpful because those numbers are really out of context,” he says.

McCall says news, especially print and television, has become too commercialized.

“I think the media would be wise to try to listen to what the public is saying and say how should we reevaluate and reassess our news coverage in a way that fits the public’s interest better, rather than the media’s interest or the interest of particular political agendas.”

He says there's been very little national coverage of suicides, bankruptcies, foreclosures and lost education from the stay-at-home orders.

“When we have only deaths and coronavirus cases, we are making an agenda statement that is not necessarily put in broad context of the overall impact of the pandemic.”

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