Thursday, September 29, 2005

Mistrusting the Media...

A new Gallup poll has good and bad news for the media. More people trust the media now than they did last year. The bad news is that more than 50% of Americans still distrust them to report the news "fully, accurately, and fairly." "A plurality of Americans describe the news media as too liberal, while one in six say they are too conservative." (source)

Could this mistrust by a majority of Americans account for the ever-growing amount of newspaper layoffs that are happening all over the country? More and more people are looking for alternative news sources, but the papers don't seem to be taking the hint... This poll was taken before the Katrina debacle where reports of over 10,000 dead (actual number now put at about 896), reports of "widespread rape in the Super Dome" (now 2 confirmed) and widespread death in the same Dome (now 10 confirmed, none being homicide). I think if the poll was taken now those numbers would go back down...

Little Green Footballs had a great example of the little things that happen everyday to chip away at the public's trust. Zombie (who seems to be the Blogosphere photojournalist of the right) took pictures at the same rally that the photo above was taken at. The one above is the picture that appeared on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle's website -nice and cropped. Now, check out Zombie's full cache of pictures that tell the whole story.
(I will give credence to the argument that this may be more about selling a product than a political bias...)

Everyone understands that news is a bought and sold product, but unlike toilet paper this product affects people's lives. Without past "storm hype" that never panned out --would more New Orlinians have left? Without the constant stream of bad news stories from Iraq would support have dwindled? The Main Stream Media needs to understand that it can't all be about selling papers or advertising --as the self-proclaimed "fourth branch of government" they have an ethical responsibility to the public.

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