The press is melting; circulation and ads sales at most legacy outlets are steadily falling, and the public trusts the product less and ignores it more. In a recent Gallup poll a record 60 percent of respondents replied “not very much” or “not at all” when asked how much they trusted the news media to tell the truth fully and fairly.
The public is right to be skeptical. There are some great individual reporters —like Mary Williams Walsh who covers state pensions at the New York Times—
but increasingly the good stuff is hard to find. Too much of what appears falls considerably short of what journalism at its best can be.
At the moment, the impending election has intensified debate over the press. This is not always the fault of the media. Shooting the messenger is a national election year sport and people who don’t like a certain poll or a certain development in the election campaign are quick to attribute political motives to the pollster or reporter who brings unwelcome tidings.