Does the public trust the UK media to tell the truth?

London , 18th July 2011 - The adage ‘don’t believe everything you read in the press’ has been around a long time. Despite that I’ve always felt that for the most part, the British media is something to be proud of. Let’s not take for granted the fact that we even have a free press for starters.


Clearly Hackgate is dominating the news agenda at the moment. One of the country’s long established newspapers has been closed, and resignations from public life are becoming a daily occurrence.
The question I’m interested in is the degree to which this sorry saga is changing people’s perceptions of the British media as a whole. Over the weekend I asked the polling group OnePoll to carry out some research. I’ve just received the results. I asked the question:
To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement: I believe I can trust the UK media to tell me the truth
The results are as follows:
Strongly Agree                     2%
Agree                                   9%
Not sure                             24%
Disagree                            35%
Strongly Disagree              30%
  • So out of some 3000 respondents, only 11% feel that they can trust the UK media to tell them the truth. 65% don’t feel they can trust the media to tell them the truth
  • 67% of women don’t feel they can trust the media, compared with 60% of men
  • Distrust of the media becomes stronger with age, according to the research. 60% of 18-24 year olds don’t trust the media, rising to 74% of the over 55s
  • There are some regional differences in opinion, although they’re not huge. Distrust tends to be at its highest in the north of England, but there’s not much in it
The media in its various guises fascinates me both personally and professionally. Whilst I love much of what I read, watch and listen to, I’m also appalled by the trite nature of so much coverage of important events, not only in the tabloids, but in the so called serious papers too. The short attention span of the media does not serve us well as we seek to understand the world around us. Libya, for example, dominated the news agenda a few weeks ago, but now it is deemed barely worth a mention.
UK media is under enormous pressure at the moment. Perhaps that pressure affords it an opportunity to think about how it needs to change. It’ll be fascinating to see how events over the next few weeks and months change the public’s faith in the media here in the UK to deliver the truth.