Is this a disconnect, or is it just a case of stubborn denial? After all, polls have shown severe erosion in media credibility for years before now, including longitudinal surveys at Gallup. The last time a majority of Americans trusted the media was in the George W. Bush administration, and it fell to its second-lowest recorded level in Gallup’s series in November.
Pew decided to conduct its own survey on the question, but this time created two populations — journalists and consumers. Journalists are just as aware of the credibility issues they have as the consumers are, but they’re not taking much responsibility for it:
[J]ust 14% of journalists surveyed say they think the U.S. public has a great deal or fair amount of trust in the information it gets from news organizations these days. Most believe that Americans as a whole have some trust (44%) or little to no trust (42%).
When a similar question was posed to the general public, 29% of U.S. adults say they have at least a fair amount of trust in the information they get from news outlets, while 27% say they have some trust and 44% have little to none.
This disconnect between journalists and the public also comes through when each group is asked about the job news organizations are doing with five core functions of journalism: covering the most important stories of the day, reporting the news accurately, serving as a watchdog over elected leaders, giving voice to the underrepresented, and managing or correcting misinformation.
In all five areas, journalists give far more positive assessments than the general public of the work news organizations are doing. And on four of the five items, Americans on the whole are significantly more likely to say the news media is doing a bad job than a good job. For example, while 65% of journalists say news organizations do a very or somewhat good job reporting the news accurately, 35% of the public agrees, while 43% of U.S. adults say journalists do a bad job of this.