Monday, September 24, 2012

Distrust of the media at record highs

A new Gallop poll suggests that 60% of Americans have little or no confidence in the news they get from the media. This is the highest level of distrust ever recorded and, sadly, I think its entirely warranted.

One interesting breakdown in the poll is the difference in trust by political affiliation. Only 26% of Republicans and 31% of Independents say they trust media reporting. Democrats are roughly twice as trusting, with 58% saying they trust the media "a fair amount" or  "a great deal."

Putting aside the issue of how much trust in media reporting is actually warranted, this poll underscores a fundamental fact: Republicans and Democrats live in different worlds. They start with different assumptions, view the world through different lenses, and draw different conclusions about the same information.

We often hear calls for Rs and Ds to put aside partisan differences and work together for the good of the country, but how is that possible when they have such different ideas about they way the world works? How can they find common ground when one group readily accepts what the other views with skepticism? And why should we have any confidence that compromise will yield good results when the two sides wish to take the country in such different directions?

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