Trust in the Media

Gallup has a poll out:

Republicans in America today remain deeply distrustful of the national news media — in sharp contrast to Democrats, who have a great deal more trust in the media’s accuracy. Overall, less than half of Americans, regardless of partisanship, have a great deal or a fair amount of trust in the mass media. Nearly half of Americans — including over three-quarters of Republicans — perceive the media as too liberal while fewer than one in five say the media are too conservative. Americans are less likely to perceive bias in their local news media than in the national news media.

Now, I don’t trust the media that much either. I wouldn’t be blogging if I did. Basic economic facts are usually gotten wrong – reporters often simply report whatever nonsense the White House tells them, and rarely bother to check the facts, though the facts are often easily found. So my general rule of thumb is to trust the sources that tend to get things that I am able to check myself right… my assumption is that if they’re wrong on things I can check myself, odds are they’re probably wrong on a whole lot of other stuff too.

That said, I’m interested in the first line, about how Republicans have less faith in the media than Democrats. One of my favorite posts dealt with this issues (go ahead and read it, this post isn’t leaving!), but let me try again, in fewer words this time.

I suspect many of these folks would claim to trust the media more if it had been reporting for the past six and a half years that the economy is doing really well, Afghanistan is a flowering democracy, WMDs were found in Iraq, the War in Iraq is going swimmingly, and people all across the Middle East are embracing American-style democracy and American-style Christianity. No doubt throwing in the odd story about how Europe is sinking into the sea would be even more helpful. But I also suspect that, at heart, these people know these things aren’t true, as much as they want to hear these stories reported in the news. And I also wonder… would anyone trust the media if it was telling us stories like these?