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  • Writer's pictureKeith Jung

One Story, A Hundred Different Reports



Written by Keith Jung


This month marks the one year of the 1.6 billion dollar lawsuit against Fox News for gatekeeping information. Media and information have never been more available to the public in this modern age. Physical newspapers, televised broadcasting, social media platforms, and word of mouth allows media to spread quickly and efficiently. Despite all this, the average American cannot trust the news. Whether it is filtering of information, quarantining data, or holding an unconscious bias, faith in the media and news has deteriorated to an all time low. Journalism has a right to argue for certain positions and hold a perspective, but there is a certain standard the media should uphold where all information should be released to the public. 

American faith in the media has progressively grown worse with trust plummeting particularly in the younger generation. By 2023 according to Axios “Only 32% of the population reports having "a great deal" or "a fair amount" of confidence that the media reports the news in a full, fair and accurate way” (Fischer). This devolution of trust between public and media has decreased so significantly that less than a third of the population can safely assume the content they receive is reliable. This is exacerbated by Axios’ report that “A record-high number of Americans (39%), say they don't trust the media at all. That number has steadily increased since 2018”. Effectively, this leaves the general public uncertain and potentially, even more dangerously, misinformed. Data can only leave reasonable assumptions that faith will continue to deteriorate until public news cannot be trusted at all. 

This is most intriguing when contrasted to trust levels in non-profit media organizations. Americans who use nonprofit news outlets have a drastically higher rate of trust at 56% as of 2020 according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy. This is emphasized further by extraneous variables being eliminated , from the Pew Research Center “Republicans and Democrats are equally likely to place the blame on news organizations instead of journalists.” Very few factors otherwise influence such a destruction of trust, so when individual journalists are mostly out of question and such a significant disparity in the level of satisfaction between nonprofit and corporate organizations exists people can only assume the obvious. 

This appearance of bias and lack of transparency is further supported by a multitude of reasons for corporate news stations to influence the content people receive. The lion’s share of funding for news outlets is viewer count to profit off of advertising and influence. This encourages the media to keep certain audiences by providing what they want to hear. Forbes defines it as “Targeted ads are the product of behavior-based advertising. About 91% of consumers are more encouraged to purchase when a brand personalizes its communication with them. These curated messages focus on an audience’s demographics — who they are, what they like and what they are most likely to purchase.” Similarly to targeted advertising, news outlets are incentivized to figure out what people want and tailor reporting to that. 

It is important to note that although some people get their news through different means and at varying levels, news eventually reaches everyone regardless of if they look for it or not. News should not be something people have to doubt and worry about external influences on.

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