Misinformation and the Media

- January 28, 2022
Can legitimate news outlets regain trust in the “fake news” era?
Photo of Trump supporters protesting the ballot-counting in Detroit, Michigan, on November 5, 2020. (AFP/Getty Images/Seth Herald)
Experts say the growing amount of false information being spread by some politicians, social media and cable news is undermining trust in the mainstream media and damaging the nation's physical and political health. With Americans deeply divided over politics, the COVID-19 pandemic and racial injustice, trust in mass media fell to new lows in the last five years. The distrust was stoked by former President Donald Trump, who called reporters “the enemy of the people” and their work “fake news,” even as media fact-checkers counted more than 30,000 false or misleading claims Trump made during his term.

Some journalism experts say that in today's hyperpartisan political world, people do not want balanced or objective news but prefer to just have their beliefs reinforced. Do you agree? If this is the case, what are the long-term ramifications for the media and for democracy?

Has the rise of “conservative” and “liberal” cable news outlets increased misinformation?

1790s–1890sA robust press emerges in the United States.
1920s–1950sRadio and television dominate news coverage.
1960s–1970sModern investigative journalism enjoys a golden age.
1980s–1990sCable news networks rise to prominence; modern internet emerges and grows in popularity.
2000–PresentSocial media explodes across the globe.

Should news organizations act collectively to protect the industry's reputation?


Christianne Klein
Journalist, Author, Media Consultant.


Andrew Selepak
Program Coordinator, Master of Arts in Mass Communication in Social Media, College of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida.


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