The latest Gallup poll came with a warning flare: “Americans’ confidence in two facets of the news media — newspapers and television news — has fallen to all-time low points.”
Since 1973, Washington, D.C.-based Gallup, Inc. has polled Americans about their trust in newspapers and, in 1993, began tracking American sentiments about television/cable news.
A mere 16% of Americans “have a great deal/quite a lot of confidence in newspapers,” Gallup’s Research Consultant Megan Brenan summarized the July 2022 findings. Television news fared even worse, with just 11% of the respondents having “some degree of confidence” in the news service cable and network news provides.
Gordon Crovitz and Steven Brill co-founded NewsGuard in 2018 to help the public discern what is trusted, reliable news on the internet.
Crovitz and Brill were guests on E&P Reports’ 152nd vodcast episode to talk about trust in news and misinformation online.
“At least when you were reading your first newspaper, you knew you were reading a Hearst newspaper. You sort of knew what you were getting,” Crovitz said.
“If you think about where we are today, the metaphor I like to use is: Imagine right now, if you walk into a library, books are neatly arranged on shelves, the magazines are arranged on shelves according to topic. You can pick up the book. You can read the book jacket. You know who the author is. You know who the publisher is. … Now, imagine instead you walked into the library, and there are just a trillion pieces of paper flying around in the air, and you grab one out of the air and start reading it. You don’t know who wrote it; you don’t know who’s financing it. You don’t know what their backgrounds are. There’s no librarian. You’re on your own,” he explained.
Using a transparent and weighted set of nine criteria, NewsGuard rates news sites on a scale of 100. It assigns symbols from red to green based on the scoring and provides users with a “Nutrition Label” that explains the site's score.
On July 22, 2022, NewsGuard circulated a press release about its “downgrade” of MSNBC’s and Fox News’ websites, which read in part: “For the first time since NewsGuard launched in 2018, both the Fox News and MSNBC sites are rated red, meaning they have earned an overall score of less than 60 out of 100. Their readers are urged to proceed with caution when they encounter content from these websites. … In both cases, NewsGuard analysts have now found that the most opinionated programming on the cable outlets, often based on clearly false claims, is now so extensively published and heavily promoted on the websites that a significant portion of the websites’ content fails to adhere to basic journalistic practices.”
Charts from recent Gallup Survey
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