"Turn off your TV sets. Turn them off right now," ranted Howard Beale in the 1976 movie, "Network." Portrayed by Peter Finch, the "Mad Prophet of the Airwaves" may be the inspiration for Americans who are dodging the news.
The Reuters Institute's recently released media study finds that 38 percent of Americans sometimes or often avoid the news. That figure compares to 29 percent globally. My hunch is that wall-to-wall coverage of our tweeter-in-chief has something to do with Americans avoiding the news.
Nearly half (48 percent) of the news dodgers do so because it "bums them out" or as the survey put it, "causes a negative effect on my mood." Another 37 percent go the "fake news" route, or "cannot rely on news to be true."
Cited by 35 percent of Reuters' respondents, local news ranks as the most-used news source. Fox News (33 percent) is next.
Richard Edelman, whose firm handled PR for the release of the Reuters' study, used his Aug. 3 blog to comment on the report. "We need the media as the foundation of functioning institutions," he wrote.
As for PR, the loss of public trust in the media impacts "our clients' ability to communicate with stakeholders through traditional earned and paid media strategies," noted Edelman.
The causes of the decline of trust in the media will be a focal point in the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer.