Public trust in media on the rise as trust in Trump declines

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A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found that Americans are putting more confidence in the news media, despite President Trump’s attacks on what he describes as, “the enemy of the American people.”

Phil Boas, the director of The Arizona Republic’s editorial department, says he has seen the shift firsthand. “We started getting the phone calls and letters to the editor saying, ‘for the first time in my life I understand why we have a free press,'” said Boas.

Arizona State University professor Fernanda Santos at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication believes this may be a result confirmation bias. Santos told Arizona Horizon she sees people enclosing themselves in their own bubble, trusting only the media that confirms what they want to hear.

>> Ted Simons: COMING UP NEXT ON
ARIZONA HORIZON, A NEW SURVEY
SHOWS THAT TRUST IN THE PRESS IS
INCREASING AS TRUST IN THE TRUMP
ADMINISTRATION FALLS, AND A
CONVERSATION WITH LONG-TIME
CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST DOLORES
HUERTA, THOSE STORIES NEXT ON
ARIZONA HORIZON.
GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO
ARIZONA HORIZON, I'M TED SIMONS.
THE MOTHERLY OF ARIZONA SPEAKER
OF THE HOUSE J.D. MESNARD IS
RUNNING FOR OFFICE.
INDEED THE ARIZONA CAPITOL TIMES
REPORTS THAT NORA ELLEN A
CHANDLER CITY COUNCIL WOMAN IS
RUNNING FOR HER SON'S SEAT IN
THE HOUSE.
J.D. MESNARD IS TERM-LIMITED AND
PLANNING TO RUN FOR THE STATE
SENATE NEXT YEAR.
HIS MOM IS ALSO TERM-LIMITED ON
THE CHANDLER CITY COUNCIL AND SO
BOTH WILL BE ON NEXT YEAR'S
BALLOT AND IF ELECTED WILL
BECOME THE FIRST MOTHER AND SON
TO SERVE AT A STATE LEGISLATURE
AT THE SAME TIME.
A NEW REUTERS/IPSOS SURVEY SHOWS
THAT TRUST IN THE NEWS MEDIA IS
GOING UP WHILE CONFIDENCE IN THE
TRUMP ADMINISTRATION GOES DOWN.
HERE TO TALK ABOUT THE POLL AND
WHETHER OR NOT THE PRESIDENT'S
ATTACKS AGAINST THE MEDIA ARE
BACKFIRING IS PHIL BOAS FROM THE
ARIZONA REPUBLIC AND FERNANDA
SANTOS, A PROFESSOR AT CRONKITE
SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM AND MASS
COMMUNICATION.
GOOD TO SEE YOU BOTH.
THANKS FOR BEING HERE.
ALL RIGHT.
TRUST IN THE MEDIA UP AS TRUST
IN TRUMP FALLS, ARE YOU BUYING
IT?
>>Phil Boas: WELL, I'VE SEEN SOME OF IT,
AND WE STARTED SEEING IT BEFORE
THE ELECTION, AND DONALD TRUMP
WAS SETTING READERS' TEETH ON
EDGE, MAKING A LOT OF PEOPLE
NERVOUS, AND WE STARTED GETTING
THE PHONE CALLS, LETTERS TO THE
EDITORS SAYING, YOU KNOW, FOR
THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE, I
FINALLY UNDERSTAND WHY WE HAVE A
FREE PRESS.
SO I THINK THERE PROBABLY IS
SOMETHING TO THESE NUMBERS THAT
PEOPLE SENSE THAT WHAT IS BEING
DONE IS IMPORTANT WORK.
BUT THERE ARE A LOT OF CAVEATS.
>> Ted Simons: YES, WE'LL TALK
ABOUT MAYBE SOME OF THOSE IN A
SECOND.
BUT AGAIN, ARE YOU BUYING THESE
NUMBERS?
>>Fernanda Santos: I WILL HAVE TO AGREE WITH
PHIL THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF
PEOPLE WHO UNDERSTAND THAT
THERE'S A LOT OF VALUE TO A FREE
PRESS, TO AN AGGRESSIVE PRESS,
BUT I ALSO THINK THAT, YOU KNOW,
INCREASINGLY I FEEL THAT PEOPLE
JUST DON'T WANT TO BE CHALLENGED
ANYMORE.
I REMEMBER BACK IN THE DAY WHEN
MY FATHER, YOU KNOW, WAS A
YOUNGER, WOULD READ TWO
NEWSPAPERS, WE LIVED IN BRAZIL,
VERY DIFFERENT TYPE OF EDITORIAL
PAGES, AND I GREW UP HAVING THIS
FEELING THAT YOU WOULD READ
DIFFERENT THINGS AND THEN KIND
OF COME UP WITH YOUR OWN
OPINION.
WHAT I FEEL TODAY IS THAT MORE
AND MORE PEOPLE ALREADY HAVE
THEIR OPINIONS AND THEY SEEK OUT
MEDIA, MEDIUM THAT VALIDATES
THAT OPINION.
SO I DON'T KNOW IF IT'S SO MUCH
TRUSTING THE PRESS OR MORE
PEOPLE JUST KIND OF ENCLOSING
THEMSELVES IN THOSE LITTLE
BUBBLES AND FEELING THEY ARE
SAFE THERE.
>> Ted Simons: WHAT DO YOU MAKE
ABOUT THAT?
CONSERVATIVES MAY BE TRUSTING
FOX NEWS MORE AND LIBERALS
TRUSTING MSNBC MORE?
>> Phil Boas: RIGHT.
SO YOU ASK SOMEBODY, WHAT DO YOU
THINK OF THE MEDIA?
WELL, I LIKE IT.
FOR ONE PERSON THAT MEANS I LIKE
RACHEL MADOW, FOR ANOTHER
PERSON, I LIKE RUSH LIMBAUGH,
THEY'RE BOTH MEDIA, THEY'RE BOTH
SILOED, SO THEY'RE COMPLETELY
DIFFERENT MESSAGING AND POINTS
OF VIEW.
>> Ted Simons: WE SHOULD MENTION
THE NUMBERS SHOW APPROVAL FOR
TRUST IN THE PRESS UP 9 POINTS
SINCE NOVEMBER, TRUST IN TRUMP
DOWN 4 POINTS SINCE NOVEMBER.
DAY AFTER DAY, ALMOST HOUR AFTER
HOUR, WE'RE GETTING NEWS STORIES
OUT OF WASHINGTON.
HOW IS THAT IMPACTING THE TRUST
IN THE MEDIA?
I MEAN, DOES IT MAKE -- DO
PEOPLE FEEL LIKE THE MEDIA IS
THERE SO AT LEAST THEY DON'T
HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT OR THE
MEDIA IS PICKING ON HIM?
>> Phil Boas: I THINK IT'S BOTH AND I THINK
IT DEPENDS ON YOUR POLITICAL
STRIPES.
I THINK YOU HAVE TO TAKE POLLS
TODAY WITH A GRAIN OF SALT.
I WOULD TAKE THEM AND JUST THROW
THEM ALL AWAY BECAUSE THEY
HARDLY MATTER ANYMORE, NOT IN
THIS ERA.
BILL CLINTON BROUGHT US SORT OF
THE 24/7 CAMPAIGN, THE WHITE
HOUSE WAS CAMPAIGNING DAILY.
OKAY?
DONALD TRUMP HAS BROUGHT US 24/7
CHAOS.
IT IS JUST A TORRENT OF CHAOS,
EVERY SINGLE DAY, AND YOU CANNOT
KEEP UP WITH IT, AND EVERYTHING
IS SO DISARRAYED AT THE MOMENT.
IT IS VERY HARD TO TRY TO
UNDERSTAND THIS WHITE HOUSE, AND
I THINK THE MEDIA DOESN'T
UNDERSTAND DONALD TRUMP BECAUSE
I THINK THEY'RE TRYING TO
UNDERSTAND HIM THROUGH AN OLD
LENS, AND HE DOESN'T REPRESENT
YESTERDAY.
HE IS QUITE DIFFERENT FROM
YESTERDAY.
HE IS THE FUTURE, HE'S A NEW
KIND OF COMMUNICATIONS THAT
WE'RE SEEING.
>> Ted Simons: IS THE MEDIA
MISSING OUT?
ARE THEY MISSING A STEP HERE OR
TWO WITH THE PRESIDENT?
>> Fernanda Santos: I WOULD SAY THE MEDIA HAS
BEEN MISSING OUT ON A BIG
OPPORTUNITY FOR QUITE SOME TIME,
WHICH IS TO CLARIFY TO VIEWERS
AND READERS AND LISTENERS WHAT
ARE THE DIFFERENT ASPECTS AND
ELEMENTS OF NEWS MAKING, RIGHT?
SO PHIL WRITES EDITORIALS, WHICH
ARE THE INSTITUTIONAL POSITION
OF THE NEWSPAPER, RIGHT?
YOU MENTIONED RACHEL MADOW AND
RUSH LIMBAUGH, THOSE ARE PEOPLE
WHO ARE OPINION JOURNALISTS.
I WORKED FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES,
THAT WAS STRAIGHT UP NEWS
JOURNALISM, I WENT OUT AND
TALKED TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE, I
DIDN'T GO INTO MY STORIES WITH A
BIAS, NOR WAS IT MY GOAL TO
PRESENT THAT BIAS AND I THINK
THAT GENERALLY SPEAKING PEOPLE
DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT.
SO WHEN WE TALK ABOUT WHETHER
PEOPLE TRUST THE MEDIA OR NOT,
MY QUESTION BECOMES WHAT DO YOU
MEAN BY THE MEDIA?
WHAT IS IT THAT PEOPLE
UNDERSTAND THE MEDIA TO BE THESE
DAYS?
>> Ted Simons: DO YOU THINK THAT
PEOPLE DON'T TRUST THE MEDIA OR
THE PRESS OR HOWEVER YOU WANT TO
DESCRIBE IT OR DO THEY NOT WANT
TO TRUST THE MEDIA AND THE PRESS
BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN BIAS?
>> Fernanda Santos: I THINK PEOPLE WANT TO TRUST
AND BELIEVE IN THOSE WHO SPEAK
THEIR LANGUAGE, THOSE WHO ARE
TALKING THE TALK THAT THEY FEEL
IS TRUE.
SO IF YOU ARE OF A CERTAIN
POLITICAL PERSUASION, YOU MIGHT
HEAR RUSH LIMBAUGH AND SAY HE'S
CRAZY OR YOU MIGHT SAY THIS GUY
MAKES SENSE.
SO, YOU KNOW, ULTIMATELY I THINK
WE HAVE TO GET TO A POINT WHERE
WE ASK PEOPLE, OKAY, YOU TRUST
THE MEDIA, WHAT DO YOU DEFINE AS
THE MEDIA?
IS IT TV?
IS IT RADIO?
IS IT NEWSPAPER?
IS IT YOUR LOCAL PAPER?
IS IT A NATIONAL PAPER?
THERE ARE DIFFERENCES THERE TOO.
>> Ted Simons: I WANT TO GET
BACK TO YOUR IDEA THAT THE MEDIA
IS DOING IT WRONG WHEN IT COMES
TO DONALD TRUMP.
HOW IS THE MEDIA DOING IT WRONG?
>> Phil Boas: BECAUSE YOU ALMOST HAVE TO
LOOK AT TRUMP IN THE ABSTRACT TO
TRY TO UNDERSTAND HIM.
SO A YEAR AGO, A JOURNALIST
NAMED JAMES PARKER WITH THE
ATLANTIC WROTE A PIECE WHERE HE
LOOKED AT TRUMP AS A KIND OF
PERFORMANCE ARTIST, HE CALLED
HIM A PUNK ROCKER, AND HE IS
BASICALLY SMASHING GUITARS, HE
IS THERE SMASHING CONVENTION
EVERYWHERE HE CAN.
SO EVERY DAY WE HAVE THAT
TORRENT, THAT CHAOS THAT HE
DELIVERS EVERY SINGLE DAY THAT
IS SELF-MADE BY THE WHITE HOUSE.
AND I'VE BEGUN TO LOOK AT TRUMP
AS SORT OF A WILDFIRE, AS A
WILDFIRE THAT IS MOVING THROUGH
AND BURNING OUT THE OLD GROWTH
AND CREATING ROOM FOR THESE
GREEN SHOOTS, NEW THINKING, NEW
COALITIONS ON LEFT AND RIGHT.
>> Ted Simons: BUT DOES THE
NEW -- I MEAN, DO YOU HAVE TO
CALL A UNITED STATES SENATOR
L-I-D-D-L-E IN ORDER TO CLEAR
THE FORESTS?
>> Phil Boas: WELL, YOU'RE CREATING CHAOS,
AND THIS IS NOT A DEFENSE OF
TRUMP, BECAUSE I THINK TRUMP IS
PURE PULSE, I DON'T THINK
THERE'S ANY DESIGN, HE DOESN'T
DESIGN ANYTHING, HE JUST WORKS
OFF OF IMPULSE, BUT I'VE BEGUN
TO THINK THAT THIS IS WHAT
CREATIVE DESTRUCTION LOOKS LIKE
WITHIN THE POLITICAL REALM.
THERE'S A KIND OF DESTRUCTION
GOING ON, A LACK OF RESPECT FOR
OLD IDEAS, OLD LEADERS, AND IT'S
JUST BURNING IT UP.
I THINK IT MAY CREATE NEW ROOM,
AND I SEE DEMOCRATS STARTING TO
TALK ABOUT THIS AS WELL.

Phil Boas: Editorial Director, Arizona Republic
Fernanda Santos: Southwest Borderlands Initiative Professor, Arizona State University

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