“The media” is an age-old term, mostly used in reference to people who report or talk about the news.
Over time, the connotation around this term has turned sour.
In the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, Americans trust in “the media” sank to a new low. A Gallup poll dating back to the late 1990s shows a steady decline in trust for “the media.” We now stand at a meager 32 percent in overall trust among the public.
What led to this decline in trust for “the media?”
A couple of things, but the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, a policy that called for neutrality in news coverage, contributed to this. While it was unnecessary and unconstitutional in some regard, the Fairness Doctrine curbed news coverage to a more neutral space.
As for “the media,” biased reporting should be like jaywalking. You should try to avoid doing it, but you definitely shouldn’t get a ticket if you do it.
But what can we all do to collectively to restore the credibility of “the media?”
Two things need to happen.
First, news agencies have to stop prioritizing opinion pieces and focus on covering a wide variety of issues neutrally.
Second, news watchers need to diversify their news intake, but also aim for coverage they think skews neutrality.
The image of “the media” falls on all of us to some degree. Perception of something is in the eye of the beholder, but at the moment, what should be done to improve the image of “the media” isn’t being done.
Ian Lack is a reporter for The Collegain and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.