Trust in the mainstream media appears to be taking a nosedive, at least among young people. A recent Harvard Institute of Politics poll that queried more than 3,000 people between the ages of 18 and 29 found that only 2 percent of them believe that the media can be trusted to do the “right thing” on a regular basis.
The poll found that 88 percent of those polled think that the media only “sometimes” or “never” does the right thing. In fact, a whopping 39 percent said the media “never” does the right thing. This places the media in last place behind Congress, Wall Street and the federal government in terms of trust.
High on the list of those who can be trusted are scientists, who came in first place among the 12 institutions the poll listed, with the U.S. military and local police departments claiming second and third place, respectively.
After that, in order of best to worst, came the Supreme Court, the United Nations, President Obama, local governments, state governments, Congress, Wall Street, the federal government and finally, the mainstream media.
Although these results are perhaps not too surprising, it is truly saddening that the media came in dead last. In a free society, the media should be one of the pillars, not an institute that prostitutes itself to the highest bidder, and that’s exactly how things appear these days.
Mainstream media has become a cheerleading section for corporate interests and anyone else who is rich and powerful enough. Ordinary people have begun to recognize this fact, particularly young people. Perhaps this is because they can’t remember a time when things were different and therefore have grown up with no lofty illusions about real journalism or a free press.