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How Journalists Can Restore Trust, Admit our Mistakes

SANTA MONICA, Calif. – The public trust in the media is at an all time low. According to research conducted and notated on www.statista.com, only 26% of American citizens trust the news they receive from traditional media. In fact, the USA tied for last place with Slovakia for trustworthiness. Compare the level of trust in the media with Finland, where 69% of those polled believe and trust the media.

One reason for this deep-seated mistrust could be that for almost six years, former US President Donald J. Trump, told his community – “Don’t trust the media. They lie. They are communists.”

Or maybe it is because sometimes, established journalists, let their own bias seep into journalism, when they deliberately distort facts or context.

Most recently, Ali Velshi hosted a Sunday morning news show. The topic of discussion was Queen Elizabeth II and the monarchy’s legacy of empire. Velshi introduced one of his guests, Professor Kehinde Andrews, as the author of a book titled, The New Rage of Empire, How Racism & Colonialism Still Rule the World.

The name of the book is actually, The New Age of Empire, How Racism and Colonialism Still Rule the World.

Velshi, an established journalist, either misread the title of the book or let his own prejudices against the Crown seep into his news reporting when he substituted the word rage for age.

Being a journalist is not an easy job. A journalist occupies a special place in the creation of societal culture and what journalists report often influences the thinking of the intended audience.

Unfortunately at the end of the show, Mr. Velshi, the producers of the show, and the writers of the show didn’t take responsibility for the inaccuracy of their work. In other words, they didn’t correct their on-air mistake.

No-one is perfect and mistakes happens. But, in this day of misinformation, journalists are trying to re-establish an honest and trustworthy dialogue with their audience. When we make a mistake, we should correct our mistakes. In the end, as journalists, we are not excused from making mistakes because of the rush to get to print or because of the format through which the news is distributed.

Some content provided by YouTube, NBC, Google, Society of Professional Journalists, NPR, www.statista.com, and Pew Research Center.

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