• Donal Horgan

Irish Media Trusts Itself More Than Public Does...?

The recent publication of the 2017 Reuters Institute Digital News Report provides a fascinating insight in to media consumption habits in Ireland in 2017. Equally, the Irish media's reporting of these same findings provides its own unique insight in to the Irish media industry. In an era of 'fake news', trust in the media and journalists is rapidly becoming a hot topic and one that many see as determining the future viabilility of many news outlets.

Reuters Institute Digital News Report (Ireland) 2017

In probing public attitudes to trust in news, those surveyed for the Report were asked 'Do you agree with the statement 'I think you can trust most news most of the time'? Why such a convoluted question was posed rather than a more straight forward 'Do you trust the media' is not known. Either way, 5% strongly agreed and another 42% tended to agree with the statement giving a headline figure of 47% who expressed trust in the news and by extension, the media.

The interesting thing is that the media's reporting of its own 'trust figures' was in itself highly inaccurate and smacked more of some 'fake news' report. In covering the report's publication, RTE radio's 'Morning Ireland' current affairs programme reported that 71% of people trusted the news, making the Irish media one of the most trusted in Europe. The only explanation for arriving at this 71% trust figure is that the 27% who neither agreed nor disagreed with the statement were included with the 47% who expressed trust in the news! This figure of 71% trusting the media was also carried by online news outlet 'TheJournal.ie' which again failed to provide any hard figures from the report explaining how it actually arrived at the figure.

TheJournal.ie Reporting on Media Trust

Of course, the real question in all of this is why the Reuters survey couldn't have asked a simple question on trust in the first place! Well, in May 2017 the Claire Byrne Live show did just that when they commissioned Amarach Research to ask the public: 'Do you trust the media in Ireland?' The result - just 27% said they trusted the media in Ireland which presents quite a different scenario to the self-congratulatory 71% trust figure of itself being reported by the Irish media.

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