As Malcolm X once stated: “The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”
The idea that media outlets and news corporations are biased — sometimes even corrupt — is common amongst most people nowadays.
False or biased news has been an issue for centuries, with terms such as “Yellow Journalism” used to describe news reporters who would use almost no legitimate, or verified, information to base their news stories on.
Fake news has also become an enormous problem. It is specifically designed to cause confusion — especially relating to political topics. An article published by the observer suggests that fake or "Dishonest" reporting is ruining the trust and legitimacy of modern-day journalism.
Statistics show that in the final three months of the US presidential election, fake news articles receive more engagement than legitimate news reports.
However, many people's reasons for their distrust in the news media are related to the fact that only a few elite players monopolise the news media.
This sense of distrust often correlates with the knowledge that only a handful of super-wealthy individuals own the majority of major news media companies in the US.
Knowing how influential the news can be, it would make sense that the motive for owning a news media outlet is to have a substantial power of persuasion over the population of a city, state, or country.
As reported by Forbes, the news media industry in the US is owned primarily by only 15 billionaires. Most notably, media tycoons such as Michael Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch — both of whom generate billions from their ownership of various news media outlets and publications worldwide.
Other billionaires have also claimed their stake of the news media industry, including Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos, Boston Red Sox owner John Henry, and renowned investor Warren Buffet.
It is reported that some of the super-wealthy individuals who own news media outlets are manipulating the stories published by the outlet they own. The New York Times spoke back in 2016 about casino tycoon, Sheldon Adelson, who bought The Las Vegas Review-Journal.
In the report, it was suggested that Adelson had been accused of tampering with already published news reports relating to his business dealings to display them in a more positive light.
Instances of manipulation have almost become standard practice, even in this day and age. This has led to a considerable decline of trust in the news media amongst most populations around the world.
Statistics show an ever-growing distrust of news media worldwide. In countries such as the United Kingdom, only 40% of the population trust the information reported by media outlets. In the United States, only 32% of people believe what the news is telling them.
📊. Source: statista.com
One of the most significant issues people have with the news media and journalism is transparency.
In a recent report by Knight Foundation, they found that transparency is one of the biggest factors in determining levels of trust towards news media outlets. 71% of respondents stated that a commitment to transparency is crucial when it comes to choosing a news outlet they trust.
For a news story to be deemed as transparent, the journalist or media organisation by which the story was published must follow some rules. Some of these rules include disclosing the source of their information, the reason for the story being published, and proof of accuracy.
Despite these rules around the accuracy of the information, many major publications continue to publish misleading info on various topics. For example, in 2017, The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) filed a complaint against The Daily Mail.
The article that the complaint was directed against originally stated misleading information, breaching multiple clauses in the IPSO’s Editors’ Code of Practice. The item has now been updated with a full explanation of their errors to ensure the information in the piece misleads no one.
Due to instances of misleading reports — even from sources that are considered reputable — many people have become completely disconnected from the news media. This has also led to a decline in voting numbers over many years.
📈. Source: wikipedia.org
We currently live in very politically — and environmentally — turbulent times. It's more important than ever that people can access 100% factual information that will help everyone work together to tackle both national and international issues.
With a growing distrust, even with “reputable” news sources, we need to create a solution that will foster a trustworthy, accurate news media community that’s isn’t led by elites and big corporations — but instead, led by the people.
News outlets that address the issue of misinformation and fake news can be used to regain the trust of readers. By enabling readers to directly engage with news providers — letting the readers decide what stories they want to be reported — we can begin to rebuild trust.
With democracy falling apart, largely due to many believing they cannot make a decision based on what the news media tells them, it's essential to reignite people's trust in the news.
Although the previously mentioned report by the Knight Foundation shows a massive lack of trust in the news media, the study did find that 69% of people said their trust could be restored.
One way to restore trust is to give power back to the people, enabling them to choose what stories matter most to them. By doing this, we can revolutionise the current state of the news media — from an entity that dictates information to an industry that only reports legitimate information that has been requested by the population.
Restoring trust and faith in the news media is a sure-fire way of boosting engagement in the democratic process. This will encourage people who have previously disconnected from societies’ issues, due to misinformation, to get involved with the democratic process — resulting in a society that’s fair for all and ultimately decided by the people.