When Gallup began tracking how many Americans trust news television in 1996, 46% of Americans had confidence in news networks to provide good and accurate information. Today, just 16 years later, less than half of that number now have confidence in television news.
The drop in confidence in our ‘news’ is because our media leaders, like our political leaders, continue to boil everything down to a left v. right mentality. Every issue and every story is delivered as if there is a “Democrat” side and a “Republican” side, feeding into the political emotions that drive many people to tune in. The Sean Hannity and Ed Schultz of the world are not ‘news’ reporters. They simply pander to their respective extremes, claiming virtue for their side, calling the other side evil, and pretending there are no other opinions on the matter.
It is lazy and self-righteous reporting. They feed their base of viewers with what they “want to hear,” (aka, what their viewers already agree with). In return, they get a loyal following that pats them on the back and think their gospel is truth. The idea of the news being something the people “need to hear” has flown out the window with Congressional compromises and real debate.
The days of finding issues that go beyond creating divisions and decisiveness have slowed. As a result, people who think for themselves have stopped trusting the ‘news’. No wonder the same radicals that control the political dialogue are the ones left tuning in.