Cross-posted from John Menadue’s Pearls and Irritations.
Trust is an interesting concept. It takes time to develop trust which results from a broad experience of something (or someone) which demonstrates consistent, reliable behaviour with integrity, ability, and surety; it involves confident expectation. But trust can be lost irretrievably, quite quickly. Trust allows for mistakes if they are dealt with openly and honestly. It does not forgive manipulation, dishonesty and betrayal.
This brings me to the recent Roy Morgan Media Net Trust Survey that found in 3 surveys of 4000 Australians, that the public gives a negative trust value to the banks of minus 18, while media companies score minus 7. Morgan subtracted distrust from trust to achieve a Net Trust Score (NTS). While the banks are seen as the most toxic brands, media companies are still in negative territory. When 1,111 people were asked which media they trust and distrust most, the results show half of all Australians (47%) distrust social media compared to only 9% who distrust the ABC.
The only three media organizations that get a positive score are the ABC, SBS and Fairfax, in that order. The commercial networks score between – 6 and -10. The drivers for negative views are false news, bias, sensationalised stories, pushing a political agenda and too much advertising.
It has become a cliché to say the ABC is biased. The claim is repeated endlessly in the commercial media and by the Coalition MPs, who run campaigns on the basis of slogans, and who complain regularly about the treatment of the government on ABC news and current affairs. They work on the assumption that if you say it often enough people will believe it. But trust is not born from slogans.
It really doesn’t matter what the commentariat – conservatives like Gerard Henderson and Andrew Bolt or ‘liberals’ like Paul Barry or Chas Licciardello –assert as opinion, for trust is not formed by opinion pieces. It is built up over time.
The ABC has been there since 1932; television since 1956, and there is a history to review and a record to examine. The public has had a lifetime to evaluate the ABC. The public broadcaster openly examines the accusations of bias made against it on its own channels and invites detractors on air to express critiques. It publishes complaints against it, along with its editorial policy. Continue reading