Ted Malloch: Mainstream Media Trust Has Evaporated – Media Consumption Is Dwindling

Guest post by Ted Malloch author of The Plot to Destroy Trump

The Edelman Trust Barometer makes uncomfortable reading for media organizations with trust in the media at an all-time low.

This of course follows years of declining levels of trust in business, the government, religion, and NGOs.


It appears all of our institutions lack one big thing – TRUST.

Despite the gloomy headline for media companies, is there any sign of hope?

Mainstream media consumption is dwindling and many competitors now challenge them.

Their monopoly on news is gone.

Mainstream media appears to be dying a slow and steady death.

According to a new Gallup report, half of respondents said they consume mainstream media less than once a week.

Six out of ten feel news organizations are more focused on attracting large audiences than reporting the real story, breaking news over communicating with accuracy and supporting a political position over informing the public.

Nearly one in two see the media as ‘elitist’.

Two-thirds agree that the average person can’t distinguish good journalism from simple rumor.

It is that bad.

It has actually gotten worse and worse ever since the late 1970s.

There is widespread concern now that the mainstream media is failing to meet key societal expectations of its role in guarding information quality, educating people on important issues and helping inform good life decisions.

And they don’t even mention their complicity in generating “fake news”.

Are the media companies and networks and their executives and headliners reading this report?

Do them care?

Or do they ignore it at their own peril.

Americans’ trust in the media may have recovered somewhat since bottoming out two years — but significantly, Gallup reports, this is only among Democrats.

Overall trust remains below where it was around the turn of the century.

Trust in the media may be affected by the larger trends affecting confidence in many major U.S. institutions, which began to decline more than two decades ago.

Attitudes toward the media have also become ‘highly politicized’ in recent years, in much the same way attitudes toward labor unions have, according to Gallup findings tracking surveys over the decades.

According to the report, generational factors appear to be at play, with today’s young adults even less trusting of the media than their older peers.

Why is this?

“Culture” is a hot topic in organizations, be they governments, companies or religious bodies.

But what is culture?

And, how does one change culture?

New research on how to measure and change a key aspect of an effective culture revolves around: Trust.

Based on ten years of neuroscience research in the laboratory and in businesses this is reported in Paul Zak’s new book Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies.

If leaders do not manage culture, it will manage them.

If political leaders do not affect trust, the culture spits them out.

How can leaders measure organizational trust, design interventions to increase trust, and improve outcomes.

What happens when a society loses trust?

Behavior is a function of persons in their environment. They call it Lewin’s Formula:  B=f (P and E).

The result is less and less trust.

And mistrust makes us more primitive.

** Lack of empathy and indifference;
** Lack of ethics and dishonesty;
** Passive-aggressive behavior;
** Friction in economic relations; and
** Violence.

Trust is easy to lose and hard to regain.

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