In this post-truth era when ’alternative facts’ replace actual facts and feelings have more weight than evidence, there’s a rising tide of misinformation. And with that, an erosion of trust. Political instability, a worldwide outcry over systemic racism and the COVID-19 pandemic are together fuelling a culture of distrust. And with social media being a hotbed of disinformation, there’s a decrease of trust in the media.
The recently published 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer lays this bare: ‘The global infodemic has driven trust in all news sources to record lows, with social media (35 per cent) and owned media (41 per cent) the least trusted; traditional media (53 per cent) saw the largest drop in trust at eight points globally.’
It’s not all gloomy. While globally, traditional news media is seeing a decline of trust, in Germany, newspapers remain the most credible medium after TV. And the more local the title, the more trusted it is. In a recent study of long-term media trust by the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, ‘newspapers remain an anchor of trust’. While 56 per cent of the population consider national newspapers to be trustworthy, the figure rises to an impressive 63 per cent for regional daily newspapers. And while 28 per cent of Germans expressed mistrust in the established media in 2019, that dropped to 16 per cent in 2020. Meanwhile, only five per cent of those surveyed trust news on social media networks.