Letter to the Editor: Trust in Media?


To the Editor:
A survey conducted by Gallup in September 2021 attempted to answer the following question?
“In general, how much trust and confidence do you have in the mass media -- such as newspapers, TV and radio -- when it comes to reporting the news fully, accurately and fairly -- a great deal, a fair amount, not very much or none at all?”
The results were rather glum and ominous. A staggering 36 percent have a great deal (7 percent) or fair amount of trust (29 percent), the lowest this combined response has been since May 1972. What the survey doesn’t measure is how individuals got their news, but the findings from nearly a year ago also showed that 34 percent responded “none at all” in terms of their trust in mass media, the highest that number has been in more than 50 years of surveying.
The entire survey article can be found here: news.gallup.com/poll/1663/media-use-evaluation.aspx
Information is everywhere, but what information is accurate and truthful? What institutions can be trusted anymore? Do we know for sure? Where can we check? That is the great challenge of our time: Misinformation. Newspapers have traditionally been the most accurate of all forms of mass media, yet their decline has been evident for years. Why? Everyone can post or publish their own story, any time of day, from any location. However, just because technology allows for something, does that mean it should be done?

With each increasing day, the late media critic Neil Postman’s prediction is getting more and more true...We are, in fact, amusing ourselves to death.
Will the trust in media improve? Hopefully, but that appears to be an uphill climb. To quote Captain Hook and his merry band of pirate marauders (or is it buccaneers, I can’t remember?) from the 1953 Walt Disney classic “Peter Pan” when giving Wendy, Michael, John and the Lost Boys a choice of whether or not to join the crew or walk the plank...”the choice is up to you.”
As for the question in last week’s issue on the viability of a bowling alley, of course it is needed, but will it get used?
Robert Putnam’s 2000 book, “Bowling Alone” probably does a better job of answering this question. Here’s one quote:
“People divorced from community, occupation, and association are first and foremost among the supporters of extremism.”

Daniel Winningham,
Perryville, MO


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