Do Teens Trust the Media?


Stefani Zeiger

Modern media news outlets include the apps Twitter, Facebook and News.

Melissa Burgett, Print Editor-in-Chief

After the constant exposure of news to teens during 2016’s presidential election and the aftershocks as the president-elect selects his cabinet, Americans agree they have never been this exposed to news updates.

Some people may argue that exposure is more informative, and Americans now have constant access to knowledge they wouldn’t have before the age of computers and smartphones.

Others, though, may find the mass stream of constant news annoyingly inaccurate and heavily biased in ways that sway the news in a direction that will gain them viewers.

American citizens’ trust and confidence in mass media and their ability to report the news fairly has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup poll history, with 32 percent saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media, down eight percentage points from last year.

“I do and do not trust the media,” said Junior Anuj Pawar. “The media does a good job at presenting the topic, but sometimes a platform could simplify something and leave out some important information, or even not talk about something else that’s extremely important.”

Mainstream news outlets have begun to present themselves in a way that will gain them niche audiences, such as the teen group or the Democratic-leaning viewers.

“I don’t trust most news media because there is almost always a strong political bias,” said Senior Lily Simon.

The stereotypical biases of major media outlets have grown into what many consider obvious fact, as CNN has been referred to as the ‘Clinton News Network’ and FOX News has become known as the hub for conservative opinion.

As a result, teens have turned mainly to social media for their own news, citing specific reporters, news outlets or social commentary accounts for their information. This type of trust can lead to either an informed opinion or an opinion formed by blind trust with little outside research.

Teens also have grown to be more cynical in their choice of media, as they discern between obvious biases quickly and base their trust on a foundation of respect.

Simon said she trusts the site Reddit, which is heavily user driven, while Pawar cited Now This Media as his source of choice.

“I don’t think that I trust the media. I know that there’s a lot that goes uncovered, a lot that goes unsaid. The media, as far as news on the television goes, is biased. They cover what they’re paid to cover, and I wouldn’t put it past them to accept money to not cover something,” said Senior Sheridan McGuire. “A lot of TV news sources are politically biased, too. Some lean one way and some lean the other, and personally I think that news should be unbiased and should cover everything. They shouldn’t report on just the topics they’re paid to report on.”