A Deficit of Trust

According to a new Gallup poll, Americans’ trust in mass media has sunk to new lows.  Not only that but our trust in our newest presidential candidates also looks to be at historical lows.

With such low opinions and such high stakes, how can anyone make well-informed decisions about casting a vote this fall?  It seems a monumental task.  Not only do we have to weigh where our information is coming from, we have to decide if it’s trustworthy, and determine if it impacts any support we might have for a candidate.  Just thinking about this stuff is enough to make you want to go back to bed on election day.

We can point fingers at figures like Matt Lauer, the recent host of the Presidential forum, who by most accounts didn’t do a great job at holding either candidate responsible for much of anything.  But then again, he’s the host of the Today show, not 60 Minutes.  I don’t know why he was selected or drew the short straw to get that hosting duty, but it was a poor showing either way.  There are larger problems with the media than just things like that; the corporations that run the media control how things get presented, and their bottom line is their profit motive, not fairness or balanced opinion.

Which is maybe why people are starting to wake up to the idea that trusting what they present at face value may not be the best idea.

This election season is unique for a few reasons; never before has a woman been presented as a major party candidate.  Never before has the other candidate had so little experience in public service.  Whatever people end up deciding this fall, we will have to live with it for four years.

Personally I hope that when that choice is made, we can do so.

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