The State of Journalism in the Age of Trump

In+a+recent+survey%2C+69%25+of+adults+in+America+said+that+their+trust+in+the+media+has+declined+over+the+past+decade.+Trump+may+be+to+blame+for+this.
Back to Article
Back to Article

The State of Journalism in the Age of Trump

In a recent survey, 69% of adults in America said that their trust in the media has declined over the past decade. Trump may be to blame for this.

In a recent survey, 69% of adults in America said that their trust in the media has declined over the past decade. Trump may be to blame for this.

Sam Hull

In a recent survey, 69% of adults in America said that their trust in the media has declined over the past decade. Trump may be to blame for this.

Sam Hull

Sam Hull

In a recent survey, 69% of adults in America said that their trust in the media has declined over the past decade. Trump may be to blame for this.

Kierra Young, Assistant Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






One of the biggest issues to affect journalism in recent years is the rise of President Trump, and his fake statistics, misleading comments, and attacks on the journalism world. Whether you agree with his policies or not, it’s well documented that Trump lies a lot. The seemingly simple rise of one person has undermined the entire field of journalism today, resulting in fewer people getting the information they need to actively participate in our democracy.

In an ideal system, journalism acts as a counterbalance to the government, taking complicated policies and issues and breaking them into simpler terms that let the public make informed decisions; it also acts as a carrier for news everywhere, letting people hear about new bills, debates, policies, and events that they may not have otherwise seen. It shines light on hidden situations and deals, helping to get justice for those affected; you cannot defend against something you never hear about.

With most websites, news media is fulfilling an important role in American society, working truthfully and without bias. Most journalists, especially those who are part of larger newspapers, conduct ethical reporting and cover important issues in our society today. However, despite this, more people have recently been seeing journalism as a threat or something to fear; a large part of this can likely be attributed to Trump.

Trump’s stance on newsrooms is clear; on Feb. 17, 2017, he tweeted that “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”

However, the negative coverage that Trump falsely labels as made up, is in fact brought on by himself and his lies; when something, in this case the media, has to correct a person so often, even if it’s for justified reasons, it’s going to look targeted.

This, along with Trump’s attitude towards the press allows him to dismiss any and all media criticizing him, or anything that paints him in a bad light as fake or biased news that is intended to serve a political agenda, with some of his followers doing the same.

In some ways at least, his terrifying strategy appears to be working.

In a survey on Americans’ trust in the media, 69 percent of adults in the survey said that their trust in the media has declined over the past decade.

Forty-five percent said that the decline was due to misleading reporting, lies, fake news, and alternative facts— similar to language that Trump uses when criticizing news sites.

Unintentionally or not, more and more people are likely biasing themselves as well; the majority of people said that they trust some news websites, but not others. Some of the reasons given for not trusting a news site included negative stories about Trump, or, on the other hand, stories that protected or supported Trump.

This heavy mistrust of journalism, especially for the audience that thinks the media is biased against Trump, presents an interesting challenge for reporters, as they have to choose between correcting statistics and facts and risk seeming biased against him, or letting Trump’s facts go unchecked and leading to public misinformation. The rise of the internet changes the game as well — headlines are more important than ever, as people tend to scroll past without reading the whole article.

In the age of social media, there’s a need to fit the entire story in just a few words, something that is impossible to do without losing out on large amounts of information.

It’s a damaging system for all involved, with few fixes.

Something that needs to be added is a higher transparency for news sites to clearly show how they got their information, who they talked to, and why. While this likely would not solve the problem in its entirety, it would be a valuable step for the media to take; if people can understand where the information came from, they’re more likely to trust it.

For instance, New York Times politics editor Patrick Healy has started tweeting context and details about how his team’s stories were written, helpfully clarifying issues that people may have with the articles, asking for readers’ opinions, and explaining the writers’ intentions. The added clarity that his work has brought to the site helps users see why certain choices were made, and what reporters were thinking about when writing the article.

Furthermore, the responsibility is on people to get more involved in news as well; the survey illustrates that people who pay less attention to the news tend to have less trust in it, which could be attributed to never looking past click-bait headlines or from getting their news from Facebook or other social media, which really do have a fake news problem.

Everyone needs to take steps to increase media trust again; whether that means reading more news, adding transparency for journalists, or trying to stop fake news on social media websites, we have a responsibility to look beyond the headlines and keep updated on the world around us.