Trust In Media Hits Rock Bottom: 60% Of Americans Think Journalists Pay Their Sources

While this might not come as a surprise to readers of our humble website, a survey conducted by the Columbia Journalism Review recently confirmed that trust in the American media has hit a new low.

According to the survey of 4,214 American adults, which was carried out by Reuters/Ipsos, the media ranked dead last in a list of most trustworthy Washington institutions, behind Congress, the military and - get this - the executive branch.

Survey

Of course, the idea that Americans don't trust the press has been well established for a long time. What the survey purported to show is exactly what it is about the process of journalism - from the use of anonymous sources to the role that money plays in the relationship between source and journalist - that Americans find so deeply unsettling.

For example, 60% of respondents said they believed journalists paid their sources.

Journos

The survey also confirmed the death of print media by showing that most Americans get their news from television, the Internet and social media.

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And perhaps most tellingly, of all the demographic groups broken down in the survey, only Democrats said they had "a great deal of confidence" in the press.

Graphic

The report - particularly the findings about journalists paying their sources - was met with shock and incredulity by members of the Washington media establishment, who simply couldn't believe that any American would be so ill-informed as to suspect that any self-respecting journalist would ever offer to pay their sources (can you even imagine?).

Though instead of questioning the intelligence of the readers who have been turned off by their hyper-partisan coverage - as always, carried out under the auspices of "objective reporting" - maybe they would be better served by examining what they might do to shift these perceptions.