Restoring public faith in the U.S. mainstream media again

So you are talking about local news only. Correct? These are productions that are independent of FNN (Fox News Network on cable).

BUT the Fox Broadcasting Company does own 20 or so affiliates so those may choose to pattern there local news after the FNN. But just because a local station is a Fox affiliate you can’t assume their local news is anything like FNN.

See KTVU in the Bay Area as an example.

ETA: as I read more I see that even KTVU is now an O & O (Owned and Operated) of Fox Broadcast. I did not know that. That happened a few years ago after I had already left. I know that KTVU News is still far from FNN fare but I’m outta the loop on all this so I will leave it at this.

It depends on how you define a scandal. If you mean that someone got caught cheating on their wife, sexually harassing an intern, etc., it probably is about equal between both sides. The problem the Republicans have is that in many cases, the official Republican position has moved so far to the right that merely believing in the official Republican position is a scandal. Things like believing that Trump won in 2020, that all COVID-19 restrictions should be lifted, that laws need to be passed that overtly suppress the Black vote, etc. Democrats don’t have equivalent positions where merely believing in the standard Democratic position is in and of itself a scandal.

To be clear, there is nothing inherently “right” about most of that (at least in the way we’re used to thinking about left and right in American politics).

I suspect how “we’re used to thinking about Left & Right” from say, Reagan in 1985, has been mostly irrelevant for 15+ years, but most Americans are just recently waking up to the Jekyll & Hyde transformation in what constitutes the “Right” nowadays and what they appear to believe in.

There is substantially nothing Trump, QAnon, OANN, etc., have said or done in the last 6 years that is anything less than scandalously anti-American. Not un-American. Not Right-leaning. Flat anti-American.

Interesting choice of words. Because, while the actions and motives of these people may be antithetical to the big lie AMERICA, They are hardly unAmerican. Indeed, racism, elitism, capitalism over humanitarianism, capitalism over environmentalism, capitalism first over everything. Is as American as it gets.
It’s nothing new. For at least half of our 245 years (and a good argument could be made for all of it) we have cloaked ourselves in our American Superiority. And told ourselves and the world we were superior because of Democracy and Freedom. All the while also believing that that superiority sprang from our whiteness, our christianity, and our "work ethic"above everything else.
So, while the ex president, the conspiracy mongers, and the propagandists, may have taken it more public than we have in the past, they’re not saying or doing anything new.

And as far as the belief that our media has lost its way, that it has become a fragmented biased mess, just means you haven’t really been paying attention to the news media of the past. It’s always been thus. The newspapers in this country, hell, the newspapers anywhere have always been published to push an agenda. The bias is not just in how they cover the stories but in what stories they choose to cover in the first place. Let’s take, for example, the zeitgeist item of police malfeasance to the black community. The Chicago Defender has literally been writing these stories for decades, while the grand dames of Chicago news: the Tribune, Sun Times, and Daily News were silent. How could it be that all of these great newspapers from the hallowed era of American journalism have missed stories that we now find so important. How could unbiased journalism have failed so miserably? Where was St Walter?

It’s time to take off the rose colored glasses! This America that you all find so distressing. This America of division and hate has always been. It’s just that now that division and hate is turned toward the people who used to turn their heads from it, and it’s very unpleasant for you all.

Getting back on topic - how can the mainstream media win back the significant chunk of Democrats and independents who say they don’t trust the media anymore?

Let’s ignore Republicans for the moment - the fact that many centrists and left-leaners can’t trust the media means this goes beyond mere partisan politics.

The problem is that ‘the media’ isn’t centralized anymore. On its surface, that seems like a good thing: decentralization means less power in the hands of corporate media power brokers. But it also gives rise to channels of misinformation. In a sense, big tech platforms have replaced the traditional corporate media as information gatekeepers. We have to hold them to a set of standards that, in the past, would have applied to CBS, ABC, and NBC.

If a large part of the problem is an organized campaign by Republicans to ruin the the reputation of non-right wing media outlets, then refusing to address this needs to be addressed, including the fact that labeling any media that doesn’t support right wing causes as “mainstream media” is a part of that campaign.

Invent a time machine and prevent cable TV and the internet from happening. Oh and fundamentally charge human nature too while you’re at it.

The vast majority of Democrats trust mass media, while the vast majority of Republicans do not. Independents are rarely independent and typically lean one way or the other. I’d fully expect them to fall between the two parties for this reason. Some Democrats answered that they don’t trust the mass media. I don’t trust FoxNews and I find MSNBC a bit more opinionated than I prefer my news channels, so depending on how I perceived the question, my answer could go either way. I don’t think those two have a large overlapping audience.

No it doesn’t. As long as your typical journalist attempts to report the truth and as @Ulfrieda states (in a most excellent post) most of them do, media is doing its job. Some outlets have decided to occupy a political space first, news second. I just avoid them.

I think this sums it up best for me:

Yes, it goes beyond partisan politics to right wing media. Democrats and independents aren’t isolated from right wing media and the blatant misinformation they serve. Even if they don’t “watch some of it to see what the opposition is up to”, the lies spread through other channels as well once they are out there. And “Democrats” aren’t some sort of monolithic entity only susceptible to the kind of lies that would on average appeal most to the left, some of them already support some R policies and are open to believe lies that support those.

I think it was Jon Stewart on his The Daily Show way back when who correctly observed that the mainstream media was only biased in favor of sensationalism and high ratings, not in favor of either political party or position.

I disagree. If this was what the mainstream media really cared about, they would have all gone the way of the National Enquirer a long time ago. In addition, if we were really being lied to by the mainstream media, it would be obvious by now that empirical reality wasn’t matching up with what is being reported.

I’m not sure that it’s faith per se that’s the issue,
Avid viewers of FOX are among the most trusting of all. Though they say they don’t trust MSM, FOX is actually one of the biggest news networks (if you count them as such) of all.

It’s not that people need to trust MSM, they need to apply critical thinking equally across all sources. If they did that, they would conclude they have good reason to believe a CNN report over a random facebook link from a friend, even if the latter confirms their worldview more.

In terms of changes to the news networks themselves, as I’ve argued elsewhere, there should be some accountability for spreading misinformation. In the same way that the networks are being sued by Dominion et al, and hence are retreating from their false statements (and will think twice next time), so the same thing should happen for knowingly spreading false public health information.
I know that this won’t happen, I’m just saying what should happen.

Maybe this will help: We have only two types of ice cream in our hypothetical universe, chocolate and vanilla.

You make a statement that vanilla is the best type of ice cream ever, hands down. The Chocolate Makers of America sue you because of empirical data that they have (let’s say that nobody disputes this data) that most people prefer the taste of chocolate ice cream to vanilla ice cream, so the CMA sues you for libel.

Your defense is that you didn’t make a statement of fact, but one of opinion. Indeed, you argue that no reasonable person could say that your statement was one of fact, but that the only real way to construe your statement was that you prefer vanilla ice cream to chocolate ice cream.

The statement in the last paragraph is vastly different than saying that no reasonable person could believe that vanilla ice cream is better than chocolate ice cream.

Well, there’s a right-wing ecosphere that’s main purpose to exist is to oppose the mainstream media. That ecosphere is making money, laughing all the way to the bank, and traffics in nonsense almost daily. And since this phenomenon markets well to half the country, we won’t be restoring faith in the mainstream media anytime soon.

Full disclosure, I used to be a Rush Limbaugh ditto-head. So, I know what it’s like to be in that part of the media landscape and how I felt toward the NYT, CBS, Washington Post, CNN, etc.

Bottom line: There’s an entire industry that’s opposed to the mainstream media. And you’re not stopping that industry from trying to cash in on that opposition. And they will have a large portion of the electorate on their side, no matter how much they lie and distort the facts.

Except that saying that “X is best” clearly is a statement of opinion (unless rigidly defined objective criteria for “best” are in place).

Saying “X happened” is much harder to clearly place into “opinion” or “fact”, particularly when talking about current, verifiable events and when not caveated by “I believe”.

And when one says “I have Y on tape admitting that X happened”, most “reasonable people” will indeed take that as intended to be a “statement of fact” on the assumption that one would know whether one possesses such a tape. One can then - as Powell’s lawyer has - claim that those reasonable people would instead take it to be a statement of opinion, but that claim would be obvious bullshit.

Is anyone going to mention that most major media and political groups and lobbies are run by Zionists who put America second and Israel first. Most zionists are either Jewish, Israel, new born Christian, or even anyone who subscribes to the many lies on both sides of the spectrum. I am left leaning and it’s obvious most republicans are zionists but the left also has an extreme bias when it comes to any news that affects the Zionist agenda such as Middle East foreign policy. I think many people new the news was fake but didn’t know who or why. There are still many people that say the fake but when it comes to Zionist propaganda like more wars or support for Israel at the cost of American lives and dollars they are all in support. The problem with most conspiracies is that they take something true and then add nonsense to it to make it enticing. For example Qanon is 99% horse crap but what it does get correct is that the media and politics do want to divide Americans so we can continue our wars in the Middle East on behalf of people that don’t really care about America. Even many Arab countries have become Zionist supporters to keep themselves in a safe position such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan and many gulf states. Ask yourself why it’s okay to criticize anything on television except Zionism or Israel. Even many powerful lobbies want like the ADL and aipac want to make no difference between anti Zionism and anti Semitism. This is so they can’t be challenged although many of the biggest opponents to this Zionist machine are Jewish themselves. They want to keep pushing race into the equation race so there is a continuous fight between blacks and whites and blacks and Latinos, etc. we need to fix the racial disparities and corruption but this new so called woke society is the worst way possible. It’s just gasoline on a fire where they don’t want equality but just want to switch roles. Most people can’t watch the news and tell the difference between opinion and lies for an agenda. In the past the news reported and the viewer made their opinions. Now the news spends most the time telling you how you should think about what is happening which is the main problem and this is where the lies are injected. When we can find the root of the problem the can we begin to solve it.

Now that’s an entrance. :roll_eyes:

Seems a bit much so reported for review.

It’s too late to restore public faith because too many people haven’t merely lost faith and tuned out, but lost faith and sought wackier extremist sources that are lies but comfort them with lies because it affirms their ideological beliefs.

A lot of posters mentioned Cronkite and his era where national TV news was not 24/7 repetitive and commentary filled but rather a short but informative window at different points of the day culminating into his program which had lots of time to prepare and get right as much as possible. In those days people used to consume much more of their local media to keep up with happenings in their state, cities, towns, communities - news that was a much needed and snapped up resource to keep society rolling. People need to know what’s happening on their doorstep. Everything was localized.

Now we are far less localized and as a result local news is no longer seen as important or as relevant. Local news was the bedrock for informed citizenship for so long but we’re in an age where a lot of people trust some guy on youtube who failed their basic science classes but call Covid-19 a Bill Gates engineered takeover of society rather than actual scientists who spend years researching and working on these issues.