Report looks at trust in media

Posted April 14, 2021

The deep divides over trust in the news media are usually portrayed as largely ideological. Democrats are seven times more likely than Republicans to say they trust the mainstream media, and independents are four times as likely.

But the argument over media trust often has the feel of people talking past each other—many journalists denying they slant the news to help one party over another, while many of their critics, especially on the right, scoff at that denial.

Still others, particularly on the left, question whether some basic notions of journalistic independence and open-minded inquiry are a delusion and the press should become more strictly partisan.

A major study released today by the Media Insight Project, a collaboration of the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, opens up a new way of looking at the issue of media trust and may offer new avenues to address it.


• Not all Americans universally embrace core journalism values.

• The trust crisis may be better understood through people’s moral values than their politics.

• There is a link between people’s moral values and their support for journalism values.

• There are ways journalists can broaden story choices and framing to reach and be relevant to more of the public, skeptical and trusting alike.

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