The public clearly believed that the press represented their interests and worked on citizens’ behalf to get the truth out.
That’s still what people want from the news media.
Amid all the depressing numbers in media-trust studies, one statistic shines like a beacon: Three of four Americans give the media credit for keeping public officials from wrongdoing.
“The watchdog role has stayed consistently high,” said Amy Mitchell, director of journalism research at the Pew Research Center.
But, she added, “there is this conundrum: As high as the numbers are for watchdog work, there are also high numbers of those who see bias.” That hurts trust, she said.