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Mistrust, Efficacy and the New CivicsNews organizations also must shed their nostalgia for advertising revenue. Their dependence on click traffic contributes to the creation of useless yellow journalism and the deterioration of civil discourse.

Instead, I’d like to see more news organizations develop revenue streams that serve to extend their journalism — events, in particular . Such a revenue stream would foster engagement and trust, expand the civic discussion and bring home a little coin. Rosie8/18/17
Mistrust, Efficacy and the New CivicsSadly, Mr. Zuckerman is speaking from the assumption that the system is fairly functional and only needs a g0od tweaking to return journalism, the “market” and our government to the level of trust and integrity they had in, oh, say, the mid-60s, early 70s. It’s isn’t and it won’t.

The problem is, he and his audience are becoming mildly desperate to hang on to their own positions in the same corrupt system that betrayed the public trust in the first place. Thus, they do not have the luxury (much less the objectivity) to address the real culprit.

Corporate domination of both the govt and the media is the sole problem with trust in the US power structure. Our institutions of self-determination (govt, markets, schools) and the mirrors we use to see ourselves (media) have been sold out to the highest bidder and are no longer serving in those capacities. They are now tools to enable the elite class’ growing control of global resources and maintenance of political power.

All Mr Zuckerman’s fervent machinations about civics, economics and social responsibilities are little more distractions from his willful (if somewhat dillusional) participation in the same corruption he so meticulously critiques. Perhaps this post will help bring some objectivity into his own senses of trust and trustworthiness. Harmon8/19/17
Mistrust, Efficacy and the New CivicsTo the people who don’t trust NYT, that NYT is debunking it is itself a mark of the truth. While people may find the comparison disturbing, Pravda and other state propaganda arms of various authoritarian regimes fell into such status. I cannot recall the cites, but survey studies of the former USSR in 1990s and 2000s showed extreme unwillingness of the citizenry to trust any civic institution, for example. A pattern that is repeated in post-authoritarian countries like Taiwan and South Korea in 2000s (I can’t find a better link than this.) Kim8/19/17
Mistrust, Efficacy and the New CivicsThis is hardly new. In the politics of 1960s and 70s, most of the scholarly focus was on how localized electoral politics were (Fenno being the canonical example). If you will, a congressman representing a district with steel mills basically voted steel mills. But he also voted Democrat because the workings of Democratic Party leaders ensured that, in course of voting for the steel mills, the congressman was also drawn into the network of internal bargains being struck through the machinery of the Democratic Party. (Tip O’Neill’s memoirs are full of stories like this.) The striking thing about politics of today, I think, is partly the product of “ideologization” of the politics, where left-right ideological dimension, whatever it really is, trumps other aspects of politics (which has been widely observed by many who have been ranting about “polarization”) but also how tenuous the bonds of ideology are. The Democrats today, unlike those of yesterday, cannot draw in people who might not already care about “Democratic” issues because they have little ability to arrange steel mill related deals through their inner mechanisms. Kim8/19/17
Mistrust, Efficacy and the New CivicsA good nibble at the edge of the problem. The difficulty is that technology informs ethics. If something is impossible then it doesn’t matter whether it’s right or wrong, but once you can do something then morality becomes relevant. Computers have created unprecedented capabilities not only in every sector of society but also in biology with CRISPR and mitochondrial transplants (actually I think that three parent thing works on nuclear DNA but still). Transport similarly has gone global and rapid. It is simply insane to believe that any existing institution has a legitimate future. This is naturally empowering a new political alignment which also aren’t likely to have anything constructive to offer. If solutions are to be found first they need to be looked for and lamenting that Toffler’s prophecies are arriving on schedule might bring more to look at the issues but doesn’t solve them. In all likelihood thinking smaller to get problems that can actually be solved is necessary. Calling for a reform of societal trust is enormous and creepy. Instead dig into the philosophy and logic of the system, public choice economics and game theory can help here, to identify specific aspects which can be fixed. In this sense asking how to create trusted civic engagement is far too large and using tuneable filters is closer to a contribution. Healy8/19/17
Mistrust, Efficacy and the New CivicsThis is an important dimension. A well-known among few, but unheard of article (It’s a paper presented at MPSA by Danielle Chani in 1993) noted that reported ideological intensity grows as partisans get more educated. One of my projects, part of which was brought to a tentative conclusion by my former co-author, Brad LeVeck (It’s a working paper that I can’t find a link to), noted that on issues where people have ambiguous positions, simple provision of a few public clues about who’s on which side in form of, say, public opinion polls, clears up the alignment neatly. (and this follows up on Keynes’ ideas on markets and information, actually). Throughout all these, people pay attention to the news not necessarily so that they should learn about the world, independent of themselves, but how “people like themselves” (and their enemies) think and what they should believe themselves. After all, we have very little direct experiences with or meaningful expertise concerning, say, international affairs and other such esoteric matters to have a stable opinion thereof. (This is somewhat of an extension of Zaller’s argument, but with a few modifications. Non-farmers are persuadable about farm matters via mass media, or not quite so mass mass media (e.g. internet information outlets). Farmers may not be so persuadable, because they know farming. Kim8/19/17
Mistrust, Efficacy and the New CivicsThere is a difference between being “loyal opposition” and being an insurrectionist. Loyal opposition accepts institutional legitimacy and operates within the limits institutions define. Insurrectionists subvert the institutions even for short term advantages.

There is something interesting in this regard (I had been developing some ideas on this in context of constitutional dictatorship vs. democracies — see this paper — before most of my projects got derailed when I was denied tenure and had to quit academia) Stable, established authoritarian regimes are difficult to distinguish from stable democracies in the sense that the incumbent power-players keep themselves in power essentially by setting up institutions to their advantage. Overt vote rigging and other haphazard and overt abuse of power are uncommon in either case. Throwing the bums out through the constitutional route will be nearly equally difficult. The advantage of an authoritarian regime, as we discussed back then, is that the incumbent power players are more firmly in control of the institutions and can accrue greater advantage thereof, but again, this is not strictly an “authoritarian” characteristic, but simply a more “powerful” (in the Huntington-esque sense) government, democratic or not.

This is the point of departure for the kind of institutionalist-insurrectionist politics of the sort you describe: if you are opposed to the policy of the incumbents, but if the institutional barriers are too high, whether “democratic” or not, you are increasingly incentivized to take the insurrectionist route, engage in actions that lie outside the institutional norms, especially if you have the resources and/or the numbers on your side. One example that I have been fascinated by is the breakdown of US political institutions in the two decades before Civil War. The initial approach that worked more or less was to entrench the defense of slavery within the institutions. As the number of potential anti-slavery population grew, the maintenance of the pro-slavery institutions increasingly became difficult and eventualy became overtly abusive and arbitrary. The anti-slavery forces took both insurrectionist route (John Brown) and institutionalist route (Douglas and later Lincoln) until, eventually, slavery would have been untenable one way or another, at which point all things broke apart. (That many other political fissures also coincided, although not with a complete overlap, with slavery issues did not help matters much.) Perhaps an extreme example? But many other examples of institutional breakdown and civil conflicts around the world took comparable paths (e.g. Chile in early 1970s; Yugoslavia after Tito, the run-up to the French Revolution, and so forth).

The solution that we implied in the Taiwan article was a form of abdication to a “Weberian bureaucracy,” a stable magic 8 ball that produces more or less “fair” outcomes that everyone can accept as legitimate. If, very broadly and abstractly speaking, one were to consider this a form of Arrovian social choice problem (it takes a bit of logical leap, I know), on might consider this “Weberian bureaucracy” a softer form of Arrovian dictator. Of course, the requisite characteristic of this magic player is not that it should be a “dictator” (a common mistake in making sense of Arrow’s Theorem, I think) but that nobody objects to it decision so much that they would quit abiding by the “rules” (i.e. everyone finds its authority “legitimate,” which implies an almost spiritual-like quality undergirding its authority, which sends the problem beyond that of mere institutions. Kim8/19/17
Mistrust, Efficacy and the New CivicsWhat if the press became a data gathering institution and not the “conscience of society”, seeking out “injustices” and unveiling them to the public?

The distrust could be rebuilt by changing the goal of a journalist to something similar to a historian: don’t judge what happens, just make sure you have presented 100% the facts of what happened.

Judiciary’s and priests are good at determining guilt and injustice, but the press is not. Camp8/20/17
Mistrust, Efficacy and the New Civics"Accompanying the evolution of media technologies is education: in 1971, 12% of Americans had graduated from college, and 57% from high school. By 2012, 31% had college degrees, and 88% had high school diplomas. The citizens of 2017 are better positioned to be critical of institutions than those of 1964."

I don’t agree with this conclusion as it assumes that educational institutions (and the degrees they confer) have evolved at a similar rate as other institutions. Maier8/20/17
Mistrust, Efficacy and the New Civicsef·fi·ca·cyˈefəkəsē/noun noun: efficacy the ability to produce a desired or intended result.“there is little information on the efficacy of this treatment.

Journalism today, as far as I’m concerned, is driven by how much can be profited by advertisers. Journalism is dead, and sensationalism has taken its place.

“ — Could taxpayer-sponsored media serve a function of anchoring discourse around a single set of facts?”

I thought that’s what NPR is for.

“ — Should media outlets learn from what’s consensus, debatable and deviant in other media spheres and modify coverage to intersect with reader’s spheres? Is shifting the boundaries of these spheres part of how civics is conducted today?”

Psycho babble.(Journalism Babble)

(deviant) “departing from usual or accepted standards, especially in social or sexual behavior.”

Could you change that to “Morals”

“The Aspen Institute does this in four ways:

Seminars, which help participants reflect on what they think makes a good society, thereby deepening knowledge, broadening perspectives and enhancing their capacity to solve the problems leaders face.”
I took this from Wikipedia. Know what, I’m 83 yrs old and all this bs what the Aspen Inst does, was done long ago by my parents. Tell me, how many in all the Aspen Institutes world-wide have ever served in their countries Armed Forces? How many in the U.S.A.?
You are so out of touch with the common man, it’s not even funny. Mcgurk8/20/17
Mistrust, Efficacy and the New CivicsI personally consider this framed as a taxpayer-sponsored sensor grid (so I can find the weather at a certain location, or the current coordinates of a government vehicle) or perhaps a “data commons.” Maier8/20/17
Mistrust, Efficacy and the New CivicsWhat if our citizens now include a large plurality unlikely to be persuaded to regain trust in our central civic institutions?

The answer to this question matters not just for our current institutions, but those of the future as well. Maier8/20/17
Mistrust, Efficacy and the New Civics— What would media designed for increased public participation look like?

User-centered designers often use design research to proactively incorporate their audience into the (new media) design process. Maier8/20/17
Mistrust, Efficacy and the New CivicsIt’s not just that we trust each other less

Less? You just said interpersonal trust was stable. Maier8/20/17
Mistrust, Efficacy and the New CivicsFantastic article.

I would love to explore further a few of your points.

One of journalism’s key roles in an open society is to help citizens participate effectively. From close scrutiny of those in elected office to analysis of legislative proposals to editorial endorsements of candidates for office, news outlets help their customers make civic decisions.
Hallin argues that we should think of potential news stories as fitting into one of three spheres. In the sphere of consensus, there is widespread agreement on an issue or a position … and therefore it’s not worth our time to discuss. In the sphere of deviance, there is widespread agreement that a stance is beyond the pale ... and also not worthy of discussion. The ... sphere of legitimate controversy includes the standard political debates within a society, and journalists are expected to show themselves as neutral on those topics legitimate to debate.
The danger is that insurrectionists will drop out of civic life altogether, or be manipulated by demagogues who promise to obviate the complexities of mistrusted institutions through the force of their personal character and will. The hope is that insurrectionists can become powerful, engaged citizens who participate in civic life despite their skepticism of existing institutions. To make this possible, we need to broaden our understanding of what it means to be a good citizen.
You mention the idea of an area of legitimate discussion. As long as there is a narrow area that is defined as legitimate discussion, and this is defined by the forces of status quo and the establishment, then the mainstream media has failed and will be distrusted.

It is by this logic of restricting discussion to legitimate areas that the status quo maintains power. If the status quo was interested in democracy representing its own people then this would not be the case.

Your article was fantastic, but it still had a pro institutionalist approach. There is a lack of trust in the institutions of the status quo, because they are increasingly failing to serve their purpose and have largely transitioned into a state of maintaining their own power and of representing the interests of big business and a governmental ruling class instead of public citizens.

So as you say, the media has become the enemy of the people, because of this limitation of discussion to a small area of legitimacy.

As you mentioned, in your article more people are media literate than ever. Even those who are not highly educated are familiar with postmodern deconstruction through TV like South Park.

Unless the media starts to recognise a plurality of ideas, and give weight to the legitimacy of multiple paradigms and cultures, it will continue to lose trust.

In short the mainstream media is a modernist institution, that is being engulfed by postmodernism. Unless it is able to progress through this to support multiple communities and give up its attempts to control cultural hegemony, it will be relegated to history.

As you mentioned this is part of a larger decline in institutions, and I would argue of the American nation state as global hegemon.

When institutions are built on the premise of disinformation, deception and on limiting discussion to narrow bands of status quo approved legitimacy, it is inevitable that trust will decay.

The article linked below follows these trends across a much wider field of study and would be great supplemental reading to accompany your article.

“Donald Trump and the Coming Fall of the American Empire” Winter8/20/17
Mistrust, Efficacy and the New CivicsSocial coding should be celebrated as a civic act in and of itself. Using code to present feasible alternative realities can compel institutions to change their own norms, markets, and code — all at once. This is the power of organizations like Code for America. Maier8/20/17
Mistrust, Efficacy and the New CivicsThere is more to this than just what is “morally” acceptable in the reporting of social and political events. Paleontologist David Raup, in his book The Nemisis Affair, which is about rise and fall (and never rises) of theories in sciences, specifically about extraterrestrial causes of mass extinctions, brings up an analogous logic. One of the examples he brings up is Harold Urey, the widely accomplished (and certainly very widely-learned) Nobel prize winning chemist who proposed extraterrestrial events as causes of mass extinctions in 1960s. His paper was published in a prestigious journal only because he was Harold Urey — a lesser scientist would have had his/her reputation ruined at worst and ignored at best. And no one even mentioned Urey’s paper for decades because nobody knew what to make of the argument. The reason, of course, was that extraterrestrial events are so alien to the way paleontologists think about things — and most people who study mass extinctions are paleontologists — that they simply kept the idea out. Of course, Luis Alvarez, the man behind popularizing the K-T event in 1980s, is also a non-paleontologist, a Nobelist in physics in his case, although he had the advantage of having a paleontologist son.

In this context, being a “deviant” beyond the pale is not one of moral proposition, but simple comprehensibility. Someone who says 1+1 =3 simply makes no sense, so his reasoning, even if that might make sense in proper context, is not given due attention, at least by the mainstream who rigidly adheres to the proposition that 1+1 = 2 is the final right answer (and nothing that says otherwise can possibly make sense). A Nobelist who says 1+1 =3 might get a polite audience, but translating the proposition to the “mainstream” audience will take a heroic and brilliant effort (in terms of ingenuity) beyond the ability of most mortals, or even Nobelists, and, when successful, is usually accompanied by availability of new data that casts the conventional wisdom to doubt (the Alvarezes were helped out by the discovery of odd iridium deposits at Como at the K-T boundary, which was quickly replicated elsewhere around the world, whereas Urey could only offer a clever but merely suggestive reinterpretation of the existing data.). Incidentally, Kuhn talked about this, in his Structure of Scientific Revolutions, as the basis of Copernican revolution.

The same basic argument seems applicable to the mass media and public opinion. As per the Copernican age, new data is available, via the internet. As it were, it is also known that conspiracy theorists are quite well informed — so they usually have a reasonably logical theory and data to corroborate that theory, made possible through new technology — like moons of Jupiter, one might say. Unlike Galileo (or perhaps not that unlike), conspiracy theorists might be crackpots, but the defenders of the institutional status quo are also defending a theory where moons of Jupiter cannot exist. This does not seem to be a tenable situation. Even if the conspiracy theorists might be cranks, they come up with conspiracy theories for “good” reasons. Unless these reasons are understood, it is not possible to simply pull (institutional) rank on them, especially if their refusal to recognize the legitimacy of the institutions is at the core of the problem.

PS. There was a science educator who had a web site from which I had gotten a story about a lab assistant who made a big “discovery” about gravity. I can’t remember the specifics or the address, so I have to reconstruct the story from memory (which I expect is almost certainly wrong). The premise is that a lab assistant “discovered” that, in the lab, the gravitational acceleration is completely different from elsewhere on surface of the Earth. What do you do? The answer is almost certainly that the lab assistant made a serious mistake somewhere, but not because the Handbook of Physics and Chemistry says what the “right answer” is (and that the answer arrived at by the lab assistant is nothing close). The implications of a completely different gravitational acceleration localized to a small area are such that you should not need to do complex calculations to suspect that gravity works differently in the lab, but conduct fairly simple experiments to corroborate the “finding.” So the first step should not be to dismiss the findings, but to reason through the implications and then to investigate empirically if the additional data obtained is consistent with the hypothesis that gravitational acceleration in the lab is radically different. The effort, if the goal is to find just the “truth,” is almost certainly “wasted” — because it is too obvious that the lab assistant has made some serious mistake. But “obvious” is a dangerous thing, and perhaps more so in social and cultural matters, where, I suspect, people are far more inclined to think that things that are not that obvious are obvious.

PPS. The empirical obviousness of a proposition, as opposed to “intuitive obviousness,” which I increasingly do not understand, is a function of the cost of the experiment needed to demonstrate the null with sufficient statistical power (a simple adaptation of the idea from the sampling theory.) All empirically testable propositions, in principle, can be ranked in terms of their apparent “obviousness,” as opposed to “intuitive obviousness,” which I suspect is really the function of sociocultural background of the people who hold such beliefs. This begs the question as to how these competing notions of “obviousness” hold up against each other.

I have the nagging suspicion that many conspiracy theories are not actually all that “intuitively obviously” false, but are quite difficult to demonstrate the contrary. They are declared as “intuitively obviously” wrong because it is deemed pointless to engage with those who hold such views. This is perhaps not an irrational thing: empirically proving that human sacrifice and the sun rising again the next morning are not correlated might be very costly indeed. Recall that Aztecs believed that the sun needs nourishment from human hearts to rise again the next morning, or at least that is what I remember of their religious beliefs. The potential cost of the experiment, as far as the Aztecs were concerned, would have been the end of the world as they knew it. The conspiracy theorist who proposes that human sacrifice is not necessary can, at best, expect to be shunned by the rest of the rational society.

The bottom line is that, I suspect, a lot of conspiracy theories are actually sophisticated enough that the null cannot be so easily demonstrated. People who belong to the “mainstream” simply do not find it worthwhile to engage with them, and instead rely on their presumed trustworthiness to keep most of the population on their side. But if this trustworthiness is lost, then simply insisting on it is counterproductive. If there are way too many people who buy into conspiracy theories, then what makes the conspiracy theorists tick should be given more attention. As the saying might go, creationism might be false, but creationists are an empirical reality — and even more so if there so many of them. Trying to debunk creationists (their existence that is) is a cargo cult science (or, as TV Tropes puts it, flat earth atheism.) Kim8/22/17
Mistrust, Efficacy and the New CivicsBy quoting Chris Hayes so much Mr. Zuckerman destroys his credibility, since Hayes has been caught on numerous occasions using pictures that were of no relevance to what he was “reporting” on and conflating and not reporting facts. Hayes is very bright, but a shill for the Progressive left and is part of the problem. If either Zuckerman or Hayes call themselves journalists, that is a travesty. They are part of the problem not the solution.
Mistrust, Efficacy and the New CivicsVery interesting piece, good deal of food for thought. On the question of inequality, I would suggest that the author’s suggestion (that the rise in mistrust is about various actual failures of institutions) is not in fact a refutation of the “it’s caused by inequality” thesis. I would suggest that higher inequality both drives, and is driven by (feedback loop) failing institutions (at least from the perspective of the average citizen). In situations of high inequality, institutions will be driven by the agendas of elites, often to purposes that run counter to their stated missions. Even if those on the low end of the inequality remain either prosperous enough or misled enough to maintain high consumer confidence, they may still notice various specific failures of elite-captured institutions, and lose trust in them. Polson8/24/17
Mistrust, Efficacy and the New CivicsTowards the end, the author discusses the Breitbart echo chamber of various closely-connected sources of distorted information, and notes that there seems to be nothing very similar on the left. He further notes “There’s nothing in our research that suggests the right is inherently more prone to ideological isolation.”

As a leftist myself, I’d like to suggest two explanations, both of which may have some truth. One is a partisan explanation, the other neutral. First the neutral one: The left in the United States is actually very small. Most of what is called “the left” is actually sort of centre-right by most countries’ standards; it doesn’t hold the ideas that are core to the concept of “the left”, such as class struggle, or indeed many ideas outside the “sphere of debate”. The actual left, the left which is for instance opposed to US militarism, in favour of major changes to the structure of the economy and so on, and therefore discussing mainly ideas which are outside the “sphere of debate”, is very small. It just doesn’t have the critical mass to create a real echo chamber. There are a few sites that do use each other’s stuff, a few writers whose articles will tend to get picked up by leftist outlets, but it isn’t enough to make a serious echo chamber.

The partisan explanation is that the right has more need of an echo chamber. The thing is that what we call “right” and “left” are not really symmetrical, particularly not at the level of mass support for them. Left wing ideology, at its base, is about egalitarianism. Right wing ideology, in the end, is the opposite — it may be specifically about authoritarian leadership, as in fascism, or about (in theory) meritocracy, particularly in situations where the market is emphasized, but it’s always about letting some people and groups rise up, far up. The question about right wing ideology then is, what’s in it for most people? Allowing “entrepreneurs” to become filthy rich is worth it for the average citizen if and only if some variant of “trickle down economics” genuinely operates in the economy. But that does not seem to be factually the case. Thus, support for far right ideology may make sense for aristocrats or the very wealthy or even individuals certain of their exceptional personal qualities (such that they can be confident of great success), but not for the majority. There is in reality nothing in it for them. Thus a mass base for far right ideology necessarily depends on a fair degree of fraud; to get people harmed by inequality to consent to continuing or increasing inequality it is necessary to convince them that they are actually harmed by something else, such as blacks or immigrants or “political correctness” or whatever. When convincing people of falsehoods, broader information is dangerous. Thus an echo chamber is highly desirable.

The left, on the other hand, tends to spend a lot of time looking at more mainstream sources of information and attempting to refute them. The core constituency the left seeks to persuade is the same as the core constituency it seeks to benefit, so it does not need to root its message in fraud, and in turn has no need to fear outside information. There are exceptions — the left has some weird culty groups of dogmatic Communists, who don’t like talking to the rest of the left let alone anyone else — but for the most part the far left has a degree of confidence in its ideas that allows it to test them against the outside in a way that the far right goes out of its way to avoid. There isn’t a genuine symmetry there. Polson8/24/17
Mistrust, Efficacy and the New CivicsThe media’s core function today is to torpedo anyone who doesn’t follow the progressive left’s ideology. And since they move goal posts on a weekly basis, most people people live in fear of the “next” thing they will be accused of.

A good example of this is the current confederate statues that are now being conflated with ANY statue. It’s scary to think of what the progressive mob is going to do next. What’s more scary is they are doing this with the approval of the main stream media. Kelly8/28/17
Mistrust, Efficacy and the New CivicsWhat systems can we build to hold new institutions accountable? Watzman11/14/17
Let’s talk about trust, media, and democracy1] Trust the media more?: There are parts of the media — the so-called MSM — I trust very much, but I recognize that not everyone I converse with does. The NYT is still my go-to, but I will generally believe what I read in most major newspapers and national news magazines [Atlantic, Newsweek, etc]. I don’t know how to get everyone back on board with the MSM, now that Fox has ‘won’ — i.e., so many seem to believe that the MSM, like Fox, is just a partial, biased view. Even if a national ratings board were created for ranking the trustworthiness of news outlets, there would now be charges of bias [much as I hear against Snopes these days].

2] I’m all for regulating the social media sites that have become de facto news media, oftentimes the primary ‘delivery’ for how people receive their news, but it’s a tricky business: there are outliers in the news that are doing BETTER news in many ways than the MSM, and you wouldn’t want those tossed in the bin along with Russian bots and distortion-spreaders. Still, regulation must start to occur on these sites. I see that.

3] My son has already been learning in his middle school about checking the trustworthiness of even ‘news source’ lookalikes, so I think much is being done. However, I don’t know how to get everyone on board with this. Healing the epistemic division is much harder to contemplate than the tips for sorting sources — and even those tips only go up to a point. [It reminds me of how I wrestled for a few years with how to keep students from doing historical research for Dracula on the tempting Jack the Ripper topic before I finally just outlawed any Ripper essays altogether, because the students could not be expected to sort the historically tenuous/speculative resources from the real ones.]

4] I wish I had any good ideas on this desperately important crisis in journalism. When the civic need for a viable fourth estate runs up against entertainment and choice, yipes.

5] I believe the social media giants will begin to use internal bots and programs to warn against sketchy sources as they appear in one’s feed, as that will be a better model than outright censorship. But then there will be ways to game them and move around them, no doubt. Dexter11/16/17
Is it time to revisit liability immunity for Facebook, Twitter and their online platform cousins?Interesting and important topic. I’m not convinced there is a policy solution. People forward information without questioning it, and they forward information they want to be true.
Is it time to revisit liability immunity for Facebook, Twitter and their online platform cousins?This stance sounds like something only an authoritarian censor like Theresa May could love. Ferguson (one tongue johnny)11/22/17
Is it time to revisit liability immunity for Facebook, Twitter and their online platform cousins?Which stance? Requiring corrections, or something else in the article? The idea of the government having a say in the appropriateness of information exchanges would be worrying. I think the only real solution to things like the “Clinton child trafficking in a DC pizza restaurant” nonsense is education. Who what why is X saying Y.
is it time to revisit liability immunity for Facebook, Twitter and their online platform cousins?The stance of trying to censor people.
We’re studying how to restore trust in U.S. democracy. Stay in 15 Americans approved of “having the army rule.” What?! Clark12/2/17
We’re studying how to restore trust in U.S. democracy. Stay tuned.Thanks for undertaking this challenge. I hope that you will dig deep into the antiquated winner take all voting system used for most — but not all — elections in the US which enshrines the status quo and distorts electoral outcomes. Winner take all voting in single seat districts protects incumbents, fuels incivility, prevents partisan fairness, yields unrepresentative plurality ‘winners’ and fortifies the glass ceiling that shuts women, people of color, and new voices out of the political and legislative process. A growing number of jurisdictions are adopting Ranked Choice Voting systems that rewards civility, produces majority winners, ensures partisan fairness, and elects more women & people of color. Ranked Choice Voting also helps to increase participation in cities like Minneapolis, St Paul, and Cambridge by giving voters more choices and a meaningful vote. The Fair Representation Act — HR 3057-will eliminate gerrymandering, foster civility, elect urban republicans and rural Dems, boost representation of people of color from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, and is likely to elect 40% more women in the very short term by mandating Ranked Choice Voting in multi-seat districts for the House of Representatives. While there are many pieces in the improving-democracy-puzzle, the voting system itself is a super important and often overlooked piece that I hope you will consider. FairVote & Representation2020 have lots of data to illustrate the benefits of better voting systems! Electing more women to office is essential for a healthy democracy but current strategies that focus on individual preparedness/like ability/ambition are not sufficient to get us to parity in our lifetimes. The 100 nations that rank above the US in women’s representation all employ an elixir of institutional strategies including gender quotas and fair voting systems to elect more women faster — we must do the same to make serious progress toward gender parity.
Let’s talk about trust, media, and democracyNews labelling like food labelling is needed - so opinion and FACT are separated
Legal repercussions for misuse of free speech as in a court of law where lying is not tolerated
My full thoughts here- Lowe12/10/17
Let’s talk about trust, media, and democracyThe future of news will be tied to the future of virtual reality according to this researcher and journalist - young people are very comfortable in online immersive games and so its understandable why VR news delivery will really be the future way they will be engaged with news. Lowe12/27/17
Join the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy to discuss tech’s impact on journalismWill any of this be live streamed? Howlett1/11/18
We’re studying how to restore trust in U.S. democracy. Stay tuned.Here’s an important article on the state of democratic thinking in Western nations. Telling snippet:

Citizens in a number of supposedly consolidated democracies in North America and Western Europe have not only grown more critical of their political leaders. Rather, they have also become more cynical about the value of democracy as a political system, less hopeful that anything they do might influence public policy, and more willing to express support for authoritarian alternatives. The crisis of democratic legitimacy extends across a much wider set of indicators than previously appreciated.
From: Hasselblad Torr1/11/18
We’re studying how to restore trust in U.S. democracy. Stay tuned.I’ve taken a 21-state tour as a concerned and curious citizen, seeking out shared narratives and imagery that carry with them our core democratic concepts and our aspiration. I’ve been writing about it at — I’d love to have the opportunity to share what I’ve been learning with you. Hint: there’s a lot of optimism but it may not be where you think it if your frame is “politics.” Anyway kudos I’m glad you’re doing this! Hasselblad Torr1/11/18
Six things about trust, media and democracy you’ve told us — so far
Jeff Jarvis re: Facebook’s Changes Dodds1/12/18
Six things about trust, media and democracy you’ve told us — so far
The one thing which would help restore trust in the Media would be for them to STOP printing gossip from “unattributed” sources. It used to be that Journalism Editors required reporters to obtain three independent sources for information. Today, all that is needed is one rumor monger, the more salacious the better. It does no good to claim that the “editor” knows who the source is — which is hardly ever true anyway, or to claim that the source doesn’t want their name used because they might get fired. All that does is to further convince the public that what is being published is pure clap-trap, Tabloid, yellow journalism, with no truth involved.

Remember: “You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war.” H. Magill1/13/18
Six things about trust, media and democracy you’ve told us — so far
I believe people need to use their real names instead of pen names. FB should not allow anonymous postings. Crossman1/13/18
The Battle for TruthThe one thing which would help restore trust in the Media would be for them to STOP printing gossip from “unattributed” sources. It used to be that Journalism Editors required reporters to obtain three independent sources for information. Today, all that is needed is one rumor monger, the more salacious the better. It does no good to claim that the “editor” knows who the source is — which is hardly ever true anyway, or to claim that the source doesn’t want their name used because they might get fired. All that does is to further convince the public that what is being published is pure clap-trap, Tabloid, yellow journalism, with no truth involved.

Remember: “You furnish the pictures, I’ll furnish the war.”
William H. Magill
1/13/18journalistic standards
The Battle for TruthI believe people need to use their real names instead of pen names. FB should not allow anonymous postings. mediaAnne Crossman1/13/18
The Battle for Truth
Six things about trust, media and democracy you’ve told us — so far
Nancy Watzman
Jeff Jarvis re: Facebook’s Changes Dodd1/13/18
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaThis is a great break down of the results of an important study.

Among the questions I have is how we can determine the difference in partisan perceptions. There’s quite a bit of evidence to suggest that the right has polarized — particularly in its media diet- more than the left. ( Is there a way to investigate the extent to which GOP leadership drove that, or is there some kind of causal relationship between conservative views and media perception?

(great graphics, but animations — maybe just slightly aggressive) louison lavoy1/16/18
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the Mediawrong and fake news. if americans don’t trust on media then they will not be Islamophobic. Kamal1/16/18
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaThanks for this. There are certainly some interesting insights buried here and I hope Americans realize that they are responsible for learning and digging into current events. Media outlets have an agenda which is not strictly delivering what is newsworthy.

That said, the animated graphics in your piece are extremely distracting on mobile devices. Nestor
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaPeople doesn’t trust the media because first FOX exist and, second, because TRUMP exist. 2 LIERS and to many already.
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaI think that to really understand the background to this issue comprised of citizens responding to this survey and the news media, one needs to understand our history of independence, federalists papers and the constitution. In these we have a citizens protected rights to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and implied freedoms to disagree with each other and to be skeptical. None of these guarantee “truth.” And seeking truth involves in part a certain amount of skepticism. Question: Therefore, why do you think skepticism has possibly increased in certain ways post WWII? How has the large number of new and evolving sources added to this? Let’s start with these few basic questions and see where your responses lead. C. Rine1/16/18
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaThe three responses below mine suggest only leftist liberals or non objective viewers have responded. I am independent, have good friends from the various parties and read a variety of sources. I would encourage these three to objectively reexamine their initial answers. Thanks you.

I think that to really understand the background to this issue comprised of citizens responding to this survey and the news media, one needs to understand our history of independence, federalists papers and the constitution. In these we have a citizens protected rights to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and implied freedoms to disagree with each other and to be skeptical. None of these guarantee “truth.” And seeking truth involves in part a certain amount of skepticism. Question: Therefore, why do you think skepticism has possibly increased in certain ways post WWII? How has the large number of new and evolving sources added to this? Let’s start with these few basic questions and see where your responses lead. C. Rine1/16/18repeat
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaHow about how the media actually reports things? How about how ‘news-ma-tainment’ is all of sudden looped in with Journalism with Integrity? How about how internet headlines infer misleading information? How about when something states “Republicans or Democrats are doing ____” when only a few republicans or democrats are doing it? Media needs to hold itself and each other accountable for accurate and non-biased reporting more than ever. Sites (i.e. Yahoo), as click-bate, will list article headlines with absolutely different meaning than articles once you click on them. If more American’s pay for news, will this get better? There is no reason to set forth how a person should already feel about a Trump quote without just directly quoting him. It speaks for itself, and media needs to put more effort into accuracy and letting news speak for itself as opposed to sensationalizing it. We’re all biting- no need to window decorate. I want to purchase more of my news but shopping for non-biased accuracy leaves me with slim-pickings. Cohn1/16/18
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaThe short of it is that there is no separation between “news” and “opinion” anymore. Just a few short years ago, news sites told a story by telling both sides of reaction & opinion in their articles. Now, it’s just one side.. if you want to hear multiple sides, you have to go to multiple news (a.k.a. opinion) sites.

Most of the time, statistics can be extracted to support any opinion, so “statistics” can rarely be trusted. Dozens and dozens of polls were laughably wrong about estimated Tump voter count in 2016, so “polls” have questionable trust level. (and understandably so …many Trump voters didn’t tell people they were for fear of being mocked, they didn’t display bumper stickers for fear of their cars getting keyed, or wear shirts for fear of being yelled at in public)

The reason party affiliation affects trust is because most news sources agree with and promote democratic views. Republicans have far fewer outlets that reflect their views. Roberts1/16/18
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaI’ve been a newspaper guy all my life (former VP, Los Angeles Times and founder of a bunch of community newspapers). In recent years, some media colleagues and I have been working with some student interns to build a very “pure” news and commentary site — no political bias, no fake news, no pop-up ads, no trolls, no click-bait, etc. It’s called THE LATEST, or We recently launched and we hope to have a mobile app done soon. If you will forgive my turning this into a bit of a plug for THE LATEST, here’s a 3-minute video that shows our policy of political neutrality in action: We’re not just a political site; anything can be “the latest.” We’re looking for friends, writers, users, investors, etc. If interested, send me a note: S. Hall1/16/18
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaFrankly, I have a diminished respect for the opinions of Americans who don’t generally trust the media. Particularly if they claim MSM is the problem. At the moment they paint the issue with a wide brush, disregarding the most reliable sources of truth, I know it is they that are the problem.

Little wonder Putin’s “hacking” of our democracy was successful beyond his wildest imagination…

Exhibit #1: 40% of the electorate.

Exhibit #2: A little known factoid: when Nixon resigned, and left office in total disgrace — on the verge of impeachment for having committed high crimes and misdemeanors against the country and the Constitution, he still had an approval rating of 24%.

These are the same people that believed Nixon’s words: “It’s a ‘witch hunt’.” Yes, Tricky Dicky used that exact phrase. July 22, 1973; The Washington Post. Nixon and his supporters constantly castigated the media during his presidency, as well…which speaks for itself.

The threat to democracy is not so much the rise of authoritarians; it’s the people and politicians who enable them in spite of the obvious dangers. Haley1/16/18
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaGreat job on the research and dissemination. The graphics make it very difficult for my eyes to focus on the words in the article. Stalzer1/16/18
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the Mediapew has found repeatedly that republicans, by and large, only trust news sources [with the exception of the wsj] that no one else trusts. Leisenheimer1/16/18
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaWhen the Presidential Doctors say Trump is in good health, with just a bit elevated cholesterol becomes “Trumps health is horrible! His cholesterol is skyrocketing! He’s gonna die!” that’s when you know you can’t trust the media source publishing the article. Eshelman1/16/18
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaNews laughed at the National Enquirer, News became the National Enquirer, the National Enquirer now laughs at News. Six megacorps consolidated all news organizations over decades and constantly hyperventilate and exaggerate everything in order to get people to pay attention to them. Finally, close to 90% of the news workforce donates to Democrats and act like Democrats with bylines, so of course Republicans and moderates ignore them. model
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaFor me, new search results are tainted from the likes of Google News because of Google’s demonstrated prioritization of advertisers’ sites over those that do not feature Google ads. Therefore Google as a news search mechanism is untrusted.

Added to the reality the liberal media always reports with liberal bias, and conservative media reports with conservative bias, it is obvious why public confidence in media veracity is crumbling.

Constant tinkering with news index algorithms by Google furthermore ensures that search results are a sterile selection of only news sources that Google deems worthy as such, and deprecates the presentation of items that reflect non-mainstream perspectives.

Google, as a virtual news search monopoly, is largely the cause, in my opinion, of deteriorating public trust of journalism. West
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaAs a media critic, we don’t have a free press which digs at the truth and serves the people. The corporate owned media outlets assist in the selling of advertisers products. Period.

My free press experiment revealed no local advertisers were willing to advertise in a media outlet which revealed the corruption between the private sector (donors) and public sector (politicians).

Furthermore, because our media bias is intentional (target marketed) for selling advertiser’s products, if you don’t tell people what they want to hear, see or read, they will simply move along to a source that will (change the channel).

Republicans should be reading what I write, but they won’t. Democrats should read what I write, but they won’t. They want to be told that they have the best team and the other team is bad. Neither wants to read the truth.

I’ve had dozens of followers send messages to me directly expressing their support for hearing the truth. Most block me because I’m not consistently telling them what they want to hear. They go find another source who will. Smekens1/17/18
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaOkay, you have shown the Democrat and Republican statistics, but what about Independents?

They are the key to all things political these days. So where do they stand on fake news, and news organizations in general? Blue1/17/18
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaForty percent of Republicans say accurate news stories that cast a politician or political group in a negative light should “always” be considered fake news.
10 reasons why Americans don’t trust the media
Knight Foundation
How does that even make sense? Pettus1/17/18
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the Media
politically balanced
10 reasons why Americans don’t trust the media
Knight Foundation
What is this requirement? Can’t they just give accurate information? Pettus1/17/18
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the Media67 percent of Republicans say they see “a great deal” of political bias in the news, versus only 26 percent of Democrats
10 reasons why Americans don’t trust the media
Knight Foundation
Who is right?

Are we not even going to ask what is true? Pettus1/17/18
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaGreat story, but the graphics make this really hard to read. Yes, op-art is clever, but for folks with photo-sensitivity, flashing lights can cause migraines and seizures. From that standpoint, this post is a nightmare. Anne Sena1/17/18
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaThis data doesn’t tell the why. Here’s a start: Hildebrandt1/17/18graphics
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaWhat is fake news? Any news you don’t like, especially if you are a Republican. Except there is plenty that is written to distort the facts or that is based on entirely fabricated statements, whether done just to cause a stir or to deviously influence opinion.

But why don’t we have high quality reporting, investigative journalism, and well reasoned analysis as we once did? Because We the People have not supported those offerings, with our money, time and attention. Instead, we’ve chosen to pay for entertainment and infotainment, the more drama the better, so that’s what Big Media provides us with. And how did we end up with Big Media? Because We the People have not been engaged in our political process and OUR government in order to prevent our independent media from being gobbled up by Big Money. Why haven’t We the People been engaged in making sure our country is functioning well? Because We the People have been binging on entertainment. “We the People have met the enemy, and he is us.”

By the way, the graphics in this article are disgustingly annoying and distracting. modelCarl Karasti1/18/18
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaThe quickest test of “mainstream media” for me is whether they are routinely self-correcting; the New York Times has a section specifically devoted to corrections, often catching errors before gadflies even call them out. Faux News, Dimbart, and other Right-leaning outlets have a mysterious ability to ignore even the most obvious and flagrant mistakes or outright falsehoods, preferring to rely instead on their constituents’ nonexistent short- and long-term memories. If backed into some irreconcilable corner, they pull the Orwellian 1984 riff and simply re-write history by erasing the prior mistake. It never happened. No it didn’t; can’t hear you, na na na na, I can’t hear you. That tape doesn’t prove anything, na na, anyway it’s probably a doctored video, they all do that now, na na na na. Whitenaugh1/19/18corrections
The Battle for TruthThe world we live in is changing in many ways. We have a global economy. We have global climate changes. We have global population shifts for many reasons. We have a huge amount of new technologies that are changing the way we communicate, work, explore science and medicine, shop, and entertain ourselves.

But, for many people change produces anxiety. Also, adapting to change usually takes a lot of work and adjustment, and people are basically lazy, especially as they get older. Third, as one publisher told me, people like happy endings. They will avoid upsetting information, even when it is undeniable.

The media is full of information about how the world is changing rapidly, and how, in many ways, it’s creating chaos, uncertainty and conflict. And then when the media points out that many of the institutions that we depend upon to protect us, such as the U.S. President and Congress, are corrupt and lying. people turn away from the media. They blame the messenger, especially when they are told by someone they believe in, to do so, even if he is obviously corrupt and untruthful.

The trouble is, decisions made on bad information turn out badly. That’s what is happening in America, and it seems as if it is getting worse. J B1/22/18
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaResponses to each point follow:

“Objective” news sources are like unicorns. You’ll never see one. Everyone has to edit a story and their own biases get in to that editing process. Get over yourself. THERE IS NO SUCH THING!
Yes, perceptions of media differ according to political affiliation. It’s called Human Nature.
More sources do make things harder to learn what is going on because it was never a simple task to begin with. In Europe, you’ll see many news organizations clearly state who they represent. It could be conservatives, Leftists, or even loonies of some sort or another. That doesn’t mean their articles are garbage. It only means it was written and edited by someone with that point of view.
Concern over fake news? Really? My concern is when journalists pass off artfully crafted half baked news stories as something significant or that somehow they understand something that they clearly do not.
The whole “fake news” meme comes because of foolish notions that somehow you journalists are impartial. You’re not. You never were.
This is a non-issue. Today we can find first hand reports without having them filtered through a news reporter and editor. For the first time in a long time, we can see who was doing their homework and who wasn’t. We can actually read the legislation online, we can see raw video that you left on the cutting room floor, and we can hear the actual tapes from 911 calls and how you edit them. What you miss are the days when a journalist was an authority. Again, you’re not, and you never were.
Many choose to get the news as close to the source as possible. What do you as journalists bring to the table that I can’t get from reading the posts of those who were actually there?
Yup. People seek confirmation. By the way, that confirmation used to come from very powerful newspaper editors who told all sorts of evil lies to us over the years. News posts from the likes of Walter Durante from the early days of the Soviet Union were so irresponsible that it’s no wonder the business of journalism is in such shambles.
No, I’m not divided on whether any of this should be regulated. The answer is not only no, but why? You call yourself a journalist and yet suggest that there should be speech controls of any sort? Are you that ignorant?
Yes, people’s trust in media is very partisan. YOU are partisan. Why wouldn’t we think this? By their own admission, the news media are largely Liberal Democrats. I can see it in the way that things are reported.
I understand why this happens. You used to be an authority and now you’re not. People cross check you and report how well you reported and what you wrote from a particular incident. The honesty and integrity of the field of journalism has never been lower because we can check from first hand reports what you included and what you didn’t put in each article.

The fact is that we all have biases. We all seek confirmation. As we mature, we learn to read the positions of other people coming from different philosophical views. So as center right wing conservative, I still read Mother Jones, I still read the New York Times, I’ll even listen to Pacifica radio from time time to time, in addition to the likes of the Daily Caller, The Washington Examiner, and so forth.

I like to know where the opposing views come from. I may not agree with them much, but I feel that I need to know what matters to them. This is how agreements are forged, and this is how politics are done.

You need to grow up and realize that you’re not the primary source of that information any more. You need to add value to the reports you make.

That’s the future of journalism. Brodsky1/23/18bias
The Battle for TruthSome interesting observations, but I think I missed the main point somewhere. It seemed to be saying that we have reached a dangerous loss of trust, and that we need to restore trust.
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the Media25 years also an issue ?

Dumb, blind and deaf, how can Democraty can survive ?
We should be able to see which writer is a true “journalist”, from Writers not, and build a journalist ethical ranking !

Because that is the code, and you should be able to keep a Press card, if not reliable ! Here the ethical code, I love it : Kotté1/24/18ethical code
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaUnfortunately I think there is likely some laziness on our part when it comes to consuming news and media, because how many people actually seek out credible sources for their news rather than just reading and believing headlines they see as they scroll through their Facebook newsfeed? Without knowing the source of that headline, there’s no way to evaluate the accuracy of it. I’d be interested to see some statistics on that question, data that tells more about the behavior of Americans when it comes to consuming news. Where do the majority of Americans get their news? How many actually subscribe (pay for) a credible source of news? thinkingJanna Marlies Maron1/24/18wants more info on where people get news and whether they pay
The Battle for TruthMainly the result of too much Neoliberalism ! We do not trust any more the Big Corporations, because we are now confident they are just lying, lobying, or directly cheating (e.g. reducing public tax in Ireland), for making profits ! And we know that… We do not believe in Papers because in the hold of the same corporations, don’t believe any more in politics because slave of Economic powers. And we understand we are consuming 4 planets we don’t have, working more and more, for less and less, just to still enrich the same few people (and some new people from time time time).

We must rebuild from grassroot ! People are the source, and they are building B-corporations, Third places, Sustainability uprising, Associations, and such a number of projects that I just see only a very few as part, as an ambassador (french native) for the program for ;-) Kotté1/24/18
The Battle for TruthGood read, thanks for sharing Richard. I would go deeper into the trust problem: lets face that even if the public no longer trusts the media (call it FOX, CNN, MSNBC, etc.), they still follow opinion leaders: the journalists. Even if they change teams. I think it’s time for journalists to take this into consideration when executing the news reporting — that’s what is all about. Will we see business models for the media based on trust? Is it even possible? Aragunde1/24/18
The Battle for TruthProblems with China: Central Planning, currency manipulation, socialist style corruption and finally they are having an over heated economy which will fuel the next recession. C. Cat1/24/18
The Battle for TruthI believe that a contributing part of the diminishing trust in the media is that too many viewers have come to conflate opinion-driven diatribes by attractive talking heads with actual journalists. They aren’t.

Just because they appear on a network that promotes their programs as ‘news’ and gives them a microphone and a revolving door of guests ‘experts’ doesn’t make them journalist anymore that giving Robert Downy Jr a costume makes him Iron Man. At least Iron Man switches up the plot now and then; with the current news media we get the same story regurgitated over an over — the only thing changing is the talking head and the time slot.

The News Media are slaves to their profit margins and therefore their chosen demographics — spinning the ‘story’ with the political bent of their audience. Mocking competing media because, of course, they are the real purveyors of ‘truth’ — those other guys are ‘just a bunch of ‘liberals’ or, ‘ just a bunch of ‘deplorables’.

It shouldn’t matter whether a person is right or left-leaning on the political spectrum as to what the facts of a situation are. But in America, we place a high premium on choice. Choice is a highly marketable commodity. Because why buy a shampoo that just cleans your hair when you can moisturize, replenish, lighten even scent it like a rain forest? Take a walk down a ‘health and beauty aid aisle of any CVS and you’ll get my point. We market everything, including what flavor of facts we consume.

It should be telling that the information we consume is tailor-made with a particular political bent — that can’t be right…can it?

I don’t think so. I would say that facts are observable, irrefutable elements of an occurrence or situation. Report those facts accurately, sans personal indignation, and you have news. Otherwise, you’re left with nothing more than opinion and speculation —neither of which inspire a lot of trust.
L. Whitaker
1/24/18news opinion labeling
The Battle for TruthI came across a letter recently I had published in the university paper (Courier, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada) when I was a graduate student some 30 years ago that focused on the issue of academic freedom but seems quite relevant to the notion of ‘trust’, ‘fake news’, and ‘truth’ ( I was addressing a professor’s argument that science was an objective enterprise because of the supposed disinterest and integrity of academics, and as such, they should be left unfettered by the social and poltical pressures of our world through unlimited time, money, and freedom. Now, apart from the obvious self-serving focus of this argument, I addressed the entire notion of ‘objectivity’, pointing out that the scientific enterprise is a socially-embedded activity performed by humans and as such cannot possibly be anything but subjective. As I stated: “…Humans live in a complex world of intersubjectivity. Since research is a subjective and interpretive enterprise, interpretations will inevitably be pluralistic in nature and there is no monopoly on truth. A diversity of interpretations is, therefore, both inevitable and necessary.”

The same could be said of ‘journalism’ and ‘journalists’. It appears those most upset by the notion of ‘fake news’ have missed some very important points, especially that they cannot ever be objective because they live and work in a world of intersubjectivities where interpretation of ‘facts’ is the order of the day. We have no hope of ever closing the gap on ‘trust’ and ‘truth’ if we continue to cling to antiquated notions of objectivity and insist our ‘truth’ is right and some other ‘truth’ is wrong. Until we acknowledge that we live in a world where our biases and prejudices, to say little of the sociocultural pressures, influence our thinking and belief systems, we cannot hope to ever come to better understandings of how the world works and what interpreations are a bit closer to the ‘truth’ than others.

For me, those that insist their interpretation of events is the ‘truth’ come hell or high water, and some other version is ‘fake’ is a red flag that the storyteller has failed to recognise the pressures and influences that have tainted their perspective — and I ‘trust’ their version less than I might otherwise. We all tend to interpret events, especially complex ones, through our preconceived notions and established paradigms/schema, discounting that which challenges our view and could trigger some uncomfortable cognitive dissonance. If we can’t acknowledge these impacts and explore them, then it is impossible to ever hope to overcome them (something that I increasingly believe is not possible).
Steve Bull (
1/24/18post modernist on truth
The Battle for Truthfirm a
The Battle for Truth
Richard Edelman
teeny typo/autocorrect: firma Haupt1/24/18typo correction
The Battle for TruthThough there might not be many fake news in Chinese media, what the press reports are strictly controlled by Chinese government. So I don’t think the circumstance of media of China and liberal countries could be compared.

Btw, it’s hard to jump out our “self curated information bubbles” once we get enjoyed being in it. bubbleMakoto
The Battle for TruthI don’t find any of this surprising. But I think measuring “trust” is pretty abstract. Trust in what?

The moorings of institutions have already been dangerously undermined by the three previous waves:
I’d say that it goes back farther than that. You’re essentially starting with an erosion of trust starting in the 1990s but that ignores the declines in trust we saw in things like government from the 1960s onward. As the cold war wound down, we has a lot of revelations of “bad deeds” being done by covert government agencies/actors in our names.

Nearly two-thirds agree that the average person cannot distinguish good journalism from falsehoods.
That’s probably because a large portion of the world has never seen “good” journalism.

This is led by a decline in trust in government, which is down 30 points among the informed public and 14 points among the general population, while for the informed public trust in each of the other institutions sank by 20 or more points.
This tells me nothing. Who is “the informed public”? I read your report and you use this term a couple of times but never explain who this is. What makes someone ”informed”?

The employer is the safe house in global governance, with 72 percent of respondents saying that they trust their employer to do what is right. By nearly a two-to-one margin, a company is trusted to take specific actions that both increase profits and improve economic and social conditions.
I suspect that this tells us something in itself.

Let’s take, as an example, four businesses — WalMart, Monsanto, Starbucks and Whole Foods.

The majority of their employees “trust” their employer to be doing “the right thing”. That sounds nice and all but, I’d bet those WalMart employees don’t trust the Starbucks CEO to be doing the right thing. And the Starbucks and Whole Foods employees probably have very little trust in the Monsanto CEO doing “the right thing”.

This is much the same as when people are polled about Congress. People overwhelmingly despise “Congress” as a whole but when they are questioned about their own Congressional reps, they tend to give them high marks.

It seems that your “Trust” measure is really more of a proxy measure for levels of civic/social harmony.

In countries where the general public is largely in agreement on what is (or isn’t) the “right thing”, their CEOs, government, public institutions and press tend to reflect a common view.

But in countries where there are numerous competing views on what is (or isn’t) the “right thing”, there is no common view to reflect. If everyone sees themselves as holding a minority position, they will naturally distrust those entities because they are pushing alternate views. Roye1/24/18I don’t see how we can say there are more sources of news when there has been so much media consolidation that almost every news entity owned by 3 companies.
The Battle for Truth
Nearly 7 in 10 respondents say that building trust is the №1 job for CEOs, ahead of high-quality products and services
The Battle for Truth
Richard Edelman
Good stuff! Trust is requires two key dimensions: competence plus character.

Trust = Competence + Character

For a leader of any kind, including CEOs, to build trust, they must be both competent to do their job and have strong integrity.

When leaders (e.g. in the US) do not display the qualities required for trust, it is no surprise that the people in the US do not trust them. Gao1/24/18
The Battle for TruthFirst, any results from China should be viewed skeptically because of the nature of their communist system. The centralized control of information and daily life skew any measurements of trust. Great Firewall…

Second, the tone of your article seems to indicate that you think that external factors have caused the growing distrust of legacy media, that is an inaccurate assessment. They have done it to themselves by constantly reporting biased and inaccurate stories as though they are objective fact. That we now have the power and information to evaluate the quality of information from these sources and we know they are false is a good thing. Further, their willingness and eagerness to produce biased, skewed and/or false reports about anyone who does not fit their biases is both constant and extraordinarily stupid.

I believe that a primary driver of this is Gramscian philosophy. The idea that there is no real objective truth and that personal truth is real where as objective Truth, is not. This can be seen on college campuses, in abusrdist protests and the “resistance.” In short, progressives have done this to themselves and taken the rest of us with them. That you see this in all western countries is no surprise.
Peter Haendler
1/25/18bias, what is truthWe really ought to start talking about how we talk about the news. I don’t think this kind of survey, that absolves our corporate media of paring down what used to be a robust conversation with many voices, is helpful.
The Battle for TruthWhen we have an opportunity to validate/falsify media claims (especially in Science and Politics) the media continually earns our distrust. They need to earn back our trust before we will trust them again. (Doesn’t this seem obvious?)

As far as trusting our peers — they either 1) get their data from distrust-worthy media, ergo they are also distrust-worthy, or 2) they have valid points they can prove with statistics/data and will thereby earn my trust.

As previously pointed out, we mustn’t confuse Journalists with the Media. Horth1/25/18media not trustworthy
The Battle for TruthDiscernment of fact from fiction and good from evil is the cornerstone of both Science and the Bible, and is the very substance of Reason; the scientist is a trained skeptic, and so frankly is the smart Christian, for both are taught to doubt much and believe the narrow — one by test of Evidence, the other by test of Scripture — and yet our populace has been taught neither discipline. Therein lies our downfall: we are become neither scientific nor faithful, but merely gullible and unreasonable. Fake news began with anti-science in a church movement that has become normal thanks to one man: Jerry Falwell. Hase1/25/18christian/religious
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaForty percent of Republicans say accurate news stories that cast a politician or political group in a negative light should “always” be considered fake news.
10 reasons why Americans don’t trust the media
Knight Foundation
This is HORRIFYING. Eppinger1/26/18
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaA more accurate headline would be: “10 ways to deny the news organisations responsibility in the media trust crisis” It assumes media are trustworthy and anything suggesting otherwise is only about “perception”. It is like to say “if people don’t eat this brand of apple pie anymore, it’s probably because of some tongue condition that make them unable to appreciate it, and not because the brand replaced 75% of the apples with pear flavoured jelly” Freaking News1/27/18
The Battle for TruthThis annual report and the accompanying commentary are top notch as every year, thanks for it. Overall I side with your analyses. I disagree with your point about the decline of the “person like yourself” and the return of the expert. These trends are modest to say the least. Here a 2 hidden gems from your report: In the US, media is actually meaningfully gaining in credibility. There is a gender gap for Trust as well, and it is most salient in the US.
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaWhy isn’t one of the reasons that Trump has repeated “fake news” 320 times last year, per, and that many of his followers in power (Republican congressmen) have gone the same. I am sure that this has had a tremendous effect on why American trust in the media is at an all-time low. He is a con man who conned students to buy into the fake Trump University, why would anyone not think he’s conned millions into believing reputable news organizations are not ‘fake news?’ August1/29/18
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaI ran media companies for a number of years. When they made money (as in the 80’s -90’s) they were highly respected and produced largely middle of road political coverage. After the internet crash followed by the Recession, media not only didn’t recover, it lost its advertising relationship, and digital finally came into its own. When the revenue stream began to narrow, news staffs were cut, copy editors let go, journalism started to feel like a football team that lost its first string. Morale suffered, journalists realized their careers depended on clicks, which in turn was affected by their social media followers. That led to racier, more polarized coverage because after all, followers love nothing more than a food fight. You now have an industry in search of a business model that in its heart does not want to be a business. modelJeff Cunningham1/30/18
10 reasons why Americans don't trust the MediaI see a real problem with passivity in our culture and our media. Look at the questions you asked:name an objective news source. How do we define objective when it comes to the news? We really have no way of knowing if any single source is ever being objective about an event we did not witness. The next best thing is to get sever al sources talking about one single event and compare them. Number 3 is about “more sources” but are there more sources now? What does “source” mean in that context? There are not more journalists. There are not more new papers. What we see instead is a proliferation of opinion based sources and platforms that serve content but don’t stand up for or defend the people creating it if there’s ever a legal challenge. I’m thinking of things like Medium there. Moran2/1/18
Local News is a Building Block to Rebuild TrustReporters need to return to the basics and editors need to be in a position to encourage that. It is amazing to me how much work is being done by email and Twitter, without real conversations with people.

In the middle of the country, where I am living part-time to teach journalism at DePauw University, the local reporters at the small, but well-read newspaper in Greencastle, Indiana at least try to get out and meet their readers (and cover them). But that is not the norm, and certainly was not during the 2016 presidential campaign, where I saw many coastal reporters parachute in and not really getting it once they did. This is Journalism 101. No mystery, but something that either the pressure to produce, or some other factor, is discouraging many big-city reporters from spending the hours they need to spend pounding the pavement and talking to people. Not just zooming in for a quote, but really listening. It takes time. It takes time to establish a trusting relationship with people you interview. Spivack2/14/18
Renewing America's TrustAllow me to suggest several ways of thinking that are not reflected in the article:

First, trust is a learned response. In theory, trust would be discussed, examined, taught, and turned upside down and right side up again throughout the K-12 school cycle, and again throughout college. In practice, few students (and, I’m guessing, few K-12 teachers) can adequately explain how government operates, how and why democracy functions, and why the system deserves our trust. The fact that students no longer feel safe in what ought to a school building, where everything ought to be built upon trust, further erodes what is already a very weak foundation.

If the project about trust is meant to be meaningful and substantive, one must begin with what trust is, how it is learned, how it is taught, how it is won and lost, how we think about trust in these United States and how trust is nurtured, amplified, smothered, and otherwise treated in other nations and cultures.

Second, historically, neither journalism nor government has been especially deserving of trust. Politicians, attorneys, lobbyists, back-room deals, journalists who play the game in sometimes unsavory ways, each of these has its long history, well known and poorly regarded by the general public. There was a time, perhaps a half century ago, when readers trusted the newspaper associated with their personal point of view — one newspaper for the unions, and so on. As we have generalized the function of newspapers, and news media, and transformed them into mass media, it’s silly to assume that most people will not scream about bias. This report lacks that perspective, and it is key to understanding trust in journalism.

Third, you are addressing the wrong issue. The issue is not lack of trust in journalism and it’s not lack of trust in government. The issue is our inability to think critically and creatively, and to use our extraordinary capable brains and technology to generate better answers to important questions. Why is there such a massive disconnect between the health care needs of citizens and the laws that our lawmakers do and don’t make? Why is there so much poverty in the United States, and what are we doing to eradicate this horrifying problem? How is it that the opoid crisis was allowed to take shape, and to go on for so long before anybody did much about it? And we’re okay by explaining away murders in our school buildings because we cannot untangle the politics? It’s no wonder citizens do not trust the government because the government is not taking care of its people. And it’s no wonder that journalism occupies such a low rung on the ladder — when is the last time you read a story about the depth of poverty in our major cities or our smallest towns that did not include the word “gun,” or “drug?” How about it, journalism — how about a sustained education effort to gain (back) the trust that you may or may not have enjoyed in the past by clearly explaining, day in and day out, the issues that government must address if our democracy is going to succeed.

We’ve all got a lot of work to do! Knight Foundation, kudos for at least opening the discussion, but that’s not really what we need you to do. Instead, please steer clear of the moment’s debate, and raise the level of the discourse so that we are addressing the deep problems that make democracy such a robust, exciting way to manage the interest of our citizens, and our residents (who may, someday, dream of becoming citizens — if we somehow manage to think clearly about immigration). And, it’s time to think globally, too.

Please, let’s shift the debate and the resources to a more meaningful plateau.
Thanks for reading! Blumenthal3/22/18v. thoughtful, like point about how people used to trust "their" newspaper
Renewing America's Trust
A free press has been recognized as a vital element of democracy in America since the country’s earliest days and for that reason has been given strong protection by the government.
Renewing Americans’ Trust
Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy
A trustworthy press is the immune system of democracy. Newmark3/22/18
Renewing America's TrustHey KF, just got your e-mail asking for comments on this draft report. Great start! However, there’s a glaring hole in your perspective — the role market structure and ownership & governance of news enterprises play in the quality of news. I think the breakdown in trust in news and also in society is simply that people have no say or stake in news enterprises and other institutions they depend on. Such institutions are increasing unresponsive, frequently out of touch, and sometimes downright exploitative (Facebook is a great example). Their incentives also drive them to do things which are corrosive to trust (like selling personal user data). The inconvenient truth is that the situation we’re in is the result of the current structure and the only way to create a better situation is to create a different structure — much less media concentration and more news cooperatives / reader supported news to start. That’s an inconvenient truth because this will be very difficult and will take a long time to do. You’re not going to fix this in 2018 or by 2020. There’s no short cut. There’s no piecemeal approach. Fundamental change is required. It’s a Herculean task that’s going to take decades and the odds are stacked against success. Are you and your stakeholders truly up for this challenge? consolidationNeal Gorenflo3/22/18media structure
Renewing America's TrustThis isn’t the in-depth commentary you’re looking for, but — a 6,000-word first chapter is asking a lot from a casual reader. It’s equivalent to around 20 pages of a printed book. My first reaction is to get this down to 2–3K and save some of the details for later. Is it Chapter 1 of a series? A manuscript? Morgan3/22/18
Renewing America's TrustThis is a well-crafted report but it is strange that this quotes Michael Robinson’s 1970s claims but not the large body of literature since then, started in part by my own A Virtuous Circle book for CUP (2000), which demonstrates that users of mainstream news media are, in fact, usyally far more trusting than average in government and political institutions, as well as being more participatory and knowledgeable. This body of research would seem highly relevant but this is not mentioned in the report. It is a major omission which skews the conclusions. Norris03/22/18
Renewing America's Trustexpand access to the press for ordinary citizens
Renewing Americans’ Trust
Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy
Does access refer to the act of consuming or also to produce and distribute (curate, share, Like, reply, etc…)? The latter activities, along with computational algorithms that utilize the data as inputs to infer significance and ranking, are prone to media manipulation. Furthermore, visual memes accelerate the generation, mutation and spread of ideas. The media as an institute needs to develop a new set of standards and practices to tame social media. mediaHong3/22/18define "expand" access to media
What are your ideas for restoring trust?I started reading the article with the greatest of intentions. Could not really go past the first paragraph. It reminds me too much of the endless papers we needed to write in college.

There were several reasons to just drop the entire thing:

Even though I’m 63, all of these historical references frankly don’t matter at all. We are living smack in the middle of the most divisive moment in our history, one in which everyone takes sides. Let’s address what we are living right now. Dedicating 60, 70 or 80% to something that happened years or even a century ago is just not relevant. And… I’m 63!!
There is no conclusion, no remedy, no proposal… just a dry recitation of a bunch of historical facts. I think all of us (at least those of us who read newspapers, subscribe to the NY Time, etc.) are keenly aware of what is going on. But no one seems to be having a conversation on how to change courses.
In my mind there are two issues today:

The inability of most people to distinguish fact from fiction in the news. Even learned, cautious people spread falsehoods all over social media.
The unwillingness of a rather sizeable group of people to change their POVs even when shown that some news is false.
Given that: a bunch of people who refuse to change even when admitting that a certain piece is false and a bigger bunch who can’t tell one from the other at least some of the time… what’s the remedy?

That’s what we need to explore. Salup3/22/18
Renewing America's Trust
Renewing Americans’ Trust
Renewing Americans’ Trust
Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy
Renewing Trust in America

Easier to read and plays to a double meaning: renewing trust within America and renewing trust in America by the rest of the world, that they can trust Americans are getting & disseminating the right information. Murray3/23/18
Renewing America's Trust
Democracy cannot function without a certain amount of trust among citizens that their government can be relied on to protect the national interest, to act responsibly and to uphold the rule of law. Maintaining trust among citizens does not happen automatically:
Renewing Americans’ Trust
Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy
Democracy functions best when citizens can reasonably trust the government to protect the national interest, to act responsibly,
and to uphold the rule of law. Maintaining societal trust isn’t automatic: Murray3/23/18
What are your ideas for restoring trust?
Hi Nancy,

Great initiative! I’m at CYBERSEC Forum, we make an annual conference focused on strategic challenges coming from cyberspace and issue recommendations based on the thoughts provided. Here is the fragment dedicated to hacking elections:

It would be irresponsible to claim that i-voting is 100 percent secure and that elections systems are unhackable. There is no total security here, just as there are no fully secure traditional election systems. It does not mean, however, that nothing can be done. We need to take holistic actions to address this modern disruption, which will include among others:

Conducting a comprehensive risk assessment that reaches beyond technology.
Having the right legal framework in place to make sure that systems have sufficient protection (e.g. recognise i-voting systems as critical infrastructure).
Providing constant testing, feedback and improvement (to be done by at least two independent parties, also with the use of hackathons).
Improving cyber hygiene, awareness, capacity-building and operational security of political actors and candidates .
Introducing transparency measures that build trust and confidence.
Introducing solid technical measures, such as vote verification (e.g. with the use of separate devices) or traffic monitoring.
Always keeping an analogue backup version.
You can download full recommendations here: securityD.H. Skokowski3/23/18
What are your ideas for restoring trust?You might want to be more clear on what you’re asking for… you don’t specify what you’re asking for ideas on how to restore trust *toward*.

Are you talking about the media? Specific sorts of organizations or institutions? The government?