November 29, 2016
The Hill released an article reflecting the perspective I had taken seven days prior, in our article on “fake news” and internet censorship. I concluded the article stating that “Both sides are guilty of bias, both push false and misleading narratives, but only one side is calling for internet censorship, only one side has unveiled an incredibly deceitful and destructive agenda.” Of course, I’m referring to the agenda of controlled media to discredit the alternative media as “fake news”.
The war between alternative media and controlled media has become apparent but alternative media has already won this war before it began. The controlled media is acting in a reactionary way to that which it perceives as a threat to its legitimacy, whereas the alternative media has acted in a preemptive and prevailing which is more persuasive. For that reason, the alternative media will continue to prevail over the controlled media and the statistics back my perspective on this matter.
Trust in the media ( mainstream media ) has dropped to an all-time low.
“WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly” has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. This is down eight percentage points from last year.
Gallup began asking this question in 1972, and on a yearly basis since 1997. Over the history of the entire trend, Americans’ trust and confidence hit its highest point in 1976, at 72%, in the wake of widely lauded examples of investigative journalism regarding Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. After staying in the low to mid-50s through the late 1990s and into the early years of the new century, Americans’ trust in the media has fallen slowly and steadily. It has consistently been below a majority level since 2007.
Republicans Fuel Drop in Media Trust
While it is clear Americans’ trust in the media has been eroding over time, the election campaign may be the reason that it has fallen so sharply this year. With many Republican leaders and conservative pundits saying Hillary Clinton has received overly positive media attention, while Donald Trump has been receiving unfair or negative attention, this may be the prime reason their relatively low trust in the media has evaporated even more. It is also possible that Republicans think less of the media as a result of Trump’s sharp criticisms of the press. Republicans who say they have trust in the media has plummeted to 14% from 32% a year ago. This is easily the lowest confidence among Republicans in 20 years.
Democrats’ and independents’ trust in the media has declined only marginally, with 51% of Democrats (compared with 55% last year) and 30% of independents (versus 33% last year) expressing trust. Over the past 20 years, Democrats have generally expressed more trust than Republicans in the media, although in 2000, the two parties were most closely aligned, with 53% of Democrats and 47% of Republicans professing trust.
Trust in Mass Media Falls Across Age Groups
Older Americans are more likely than younger Americans to say they trust the media, but trust has declined among both age groups this year. Currently, 26% of those aged 18 to 49 (down from 36% last year) and 38% of those aged 50 and older (down from 45%) say they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media.
In 2001, younger Americans (55%) were more likely than older Americans (50%) to express trust and confidence in mass media. This gap emerged again in 2005 when 53% of 18- to 49-year-olds had trust and 45% of those 50 and older expressed the same sentiment. Yet in the past decade, older Americans have mostly had more confidence than younger Americans, and this year, the gap between these age groups is 12 points. And 2016 marks the first time that confidence among older Americans has dropped below 40% in polling since 2001.” – Gallup
The democratization of information has lead to the democratization of truth, therein lying the distrust of controlled media among the youth of America. There is no reason to believe that this trend won’t continue, especially with the popularity of alternative media skyrocketing in contrast to controlled media, which is only experiencing temporary surges.
Controlled media has already lost the youth, which created the necessity for alternative media and that necessity will drive the future of media focus and that’s why alternative media is more likely, in the long-run, to overtake the controlled media. However, efforts are being made to curve this phenomenon. For example, CNN recently purchased the social media app Beme, to cultivate the millennial audience. I am predicting that these type of efforts will ultimately fail and will not curve this trend because it does not provide a solution to the problem that created this trend, to begin with.
At some point, controlled media and all media, for that matter, will have to submit to a more informed age of individuals, who will be more capable of deciphering fact from fiction for themselves.