The Crisis of Confidence and the News Media
By Michael Kleen
Previously, I have written about the crisis of confidence in government (“The Crisis of Confidence,” “Potholes and the Crisis of Confidence”). Simply put, this means that constituents can no longer trust their elected officials. But this crisis extends to and envelops the news media as well, creating a toxic environment of distrust in which a republican form of government cannot properly function. By sowing the seeds of distrust in government while exposing its own biases, the media serves to fuel the fires of this crisis. Metaphorically speaking, government and news media are locked in a death spiral, racing to the bottom of public opinion while engaged in a political battle increasingly estranged from the general public.
That there has been a dramatic decline in public trust for the news media cannot be denied. In 2003, according to a Gallup poll, only 36 percent of those surveyed believed news organizations “get the facts straight.” That percentage fell to 29 percent in 2009 (Pew Research Center), while in the same year, only 19 percent felt that the press “dealt fairly with all sides.” In March 2010, the Pew Research Center found that 57 percent of those surveyed had a negative view of the national news media, a percentage only surpassed by the number of people who had a negative view of the Federal government and banks (65 and 69 percent)…