Partisan and untrusted: Media's wake-up call from Edelman

Feb 21, 2021 at 10:01 pm by Staff

A further loss of trust in Australia's 'traditional' media from 56 to 53 per cent left the country with no trusted information source, according to this year's Edelman Trust Barometer.

Editors say that despite modest gains, Australian media "continues to lag other institutions by double-digit figures", with no one media information source seen as trusted.

Owned channels and social media jumped - by five and nine points, to 38 and 32 respectively - while traditional media (minus three points) and search engines (minus one point) have continued to fall.

The local stats are extracted from global figures which show business as now the only trusted institution, and a "trust gap" of 22 per cent - the survey's largest - between the trust of "informed" Australians (77 per cent) and the mass population (55 per cent).

The report says Australians are recognising they need to take more personal responsibility for their own information diet, with fewer than one in four practising "good hygiene" - meaning they engage with multiple sources, avoid echo chambers, verify information they're consuming, and vet it before content sharing.

Overall, trust in general news and information sources was at record lows globally. Some 59 per cent believe journalists and reporters are purposely trying to mislead people by saying things they know are false or gross exaggerations, with a similar proportion agreeing that "most news organisations" are more concerned with supporting an ideology or political position than with informing the public. Sixty-one per cent said the media is "not doing well" at being objective and non-partisan.

Sections: Digital business


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