Back in December 2017, a report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism – Bias, Bullshit and Lies: Audience Perspectives on Low Trust in the Media – suggested that society’s trust in news media had probably hit an all-time low.
During the passing years however, since that report, I would have suspected our distrust to have continued its downward trend, or at the very least, have been compounded. Especially but not exclusively around the issues that relate to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bias, spin and hidden agendas come across as the main reasons for lack of trust in the news media along with a perceived decline in journalistic standards driven by greater competition and some online business models. (Read more)
Reading through several elements of the UK COVID-19 news and information project; it looks like my assumption could have been unfounded, or even incorrect?
A more recent report, from the RISJ project (April 2020) found; the MSM is “broadly trusted as source of coronavirus information.” However, perhaps less surprising was how; people’s opinions about the UK Govt response to Covid-19 was “highly polarised” (read more).
One certainty, that I wrote about previously (see here) is; Navigating the ‘infodemic’ hasn’t been an easy task, for anyone.
Yes, we all have differing levels of understanding, based upon our knowledge and/or analytical skill sets however; we also still have much to learn. About how our ‘news’ is delivered and how we use it to formulate our opinions (see here) and importantly, how we subsequently act or react, based upon what content we consume.
The ‘opinions’ of ‘experts’
Thanks (in part) to the inherent self-promotional purpose of many, aided by their use of social-media platforms (as a source of income); our world is now full of presumptuous people who are fixated on espousing advice.
Either that or, hell-bent on intentionally stoking discourse for clickbait purposes, a well known trait of the MSM journalists. These are the people who pride themselves in holding a ‘valid’ opinion (when ‘making Governments accountable), on almost everything but often, those opinions are just that… opinion.
opinion /əˈpɪnjən/ (noun): 1. a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge. “that, in my opinion, is right.” 2. a statement of advice by an expert on a professional matter….”if in doubt, get a second opinion”
Apart from ‘inappropriate’ viewpoints, now seen by society as legally unacceptable, everybody has the right to espouse their personal views and opinions. Our ‘freedom of speech’ is something most of us correctly value as a fundamental human right however; that doesn’t equate to the expectation that you also have the ‘right’ for your opinion(s) to be listened to, or indeed acted upon.
People’s views can often be based upon limited and/or untested information but more worryingly and too often, they can sit way beyond that person’s sphere of knowledge. But sadly, that doesn’t usually stop them being espoused. The ultracrepidarian is more than happy to offer their advice, about all manner of subjects, based wholly around their limited or preconceived understanding.
Many new-world ‘experts’ (particularly in this digital age) don’t appear to have much concern about facts in the content they offer. But, offering opinions, irrespective of any passionate beliefs that may be held, those views aren’t always necessarily correct… or accepted by others.
Any viewpoint, that is previously untested and not subject of robust analytical challenge, is simply an opinion. So, before you go shouting it from the digital rooftops – at every opportunity – take a moment to consider what impact might this opinion have for others… MSM ‘journalists’ take note!