The public’s impression of the media is often as much of an expression of their political state of mind as anything. But what jumps out at me in this particular Pew Research poll is the distance between trust and name recognition.
For example, when asked about individual entities such as local and national media, state government and politicians, Americans seem to widely trust local news over everyone else for getting the story straight:
However, in the same polling data, Americans readily identify cable news outlets – CNN and Fox foremost among them – over local television news:
What accounts for this? Why do we trust our local media so much more, but identify it less? Does this mean that Americans view media dimly as a general rule and blame cable news nets for this? Or does it mean that people aren’t paying that much attention to local news, and cable news is getting more (potentially unfair) scrutiny? Or does it simply mean we trust our provincial media more implicitly? Any way you slice it, there seems to be an opening for local media of all stripes to fill the credibility gap that national media provides.
And again, I think its silly to mention “websites” as a separate entity in this polling data. I don’t think most people would regard a newspaper website to be anything other than the newspaper.
More details linked below:
Press Widely Criticized, But Trusted More than Other Information Sources | Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.