As BBC strikes, Brits trust journalists less than Americans do

Ipsos MORI | International Herald Tribune | The Drum | Associated Press

Good news for British journalists: At least you're not politicians. Those public servants were the only group trusted less by Britons than members of the press, according to an Ipsos MORI poll published Friday. Only 21 percent of adults in Britain trust journalists to tell the truth; 72 percent do not trust them. Even members of parliament in general did better than journos (23 percent trust them to tell the truth) despite their proven ability to put together scandals like a recent one involving a speeding ticket, a spurned wife and ... oh yeah, a journalist.

"The results may simply reflect the state of British journalism," Harvey Morris writes in The International Herald Tribune. Sure, lots of former tabloid employees have gotten stung by the phone-hacking scandal, but:

Media-watchers believe, however, that in an era of rapid technological change, the trust issue goes wider than the morally dubious practices of some of the red-top newspapers in Britain.

"News readers," the British term for TV anchors, scored much higher, with 69 percent of respondents trusting them to be truthful. In the poll's crosstabs, you can see that residents of the greater London area trusted journalists the most while Scots trusted them the least.

In the U.S., journalists fare somewhat better, besting people who sell insurance and cars in a recent poll about honesty and ethics. Forty percent of Americans trust media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly -- a record low.

Meanwhile the BBC reportedly plans to offer journalism training to "'non-journalist' factual staff" next month. Union journalists staged a 24-hour walkout Monday at the British news behemoth to protest layoffs and potential job cuts.

Previously: Pew: 75% of Americans say journalists can’t get their facts straight | Gallup: Americans mistrust media more than ever | 24% of the public gives journalists ‘high’ ethics rating

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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