MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Americans’ trust in both their government and in each other is declining. That might be something you have concluded on your own from watching the news or even talking with your neighbors. But the respected research institute, the Pew Research Center, did what researchers do. They tried to get their hands around this by taking a fresh look at the data they’ve gathered in recent years to try to understand how and why Americans are losing trust in a number of their critical institutions.
Right now, we want to focus on two of those institutions, elections and the media. By elections, we’re thinking about how elections are administered. As you must know, Democrats and many Republicans are engaged in a furious fight over new restrictions that Republican-led states are trying to, or, in many cases, have imposed on the administration of elections. Republicans are calling these common-sense measures to tighten up lax practices or to respond to voter concerns. But Democrats say most of these are unnecessary at best and unfair, punitive and racist at worst, with a clear strategy to keep minorities and others from voting.
As you probably know, the White House and progressive congressional Democrats have been trying to pass new legislation that would standardize some of these rules around the country, an effort that has been stymied both by Republicans and more conservative Democrats. And trust in the media – well, that’s been on the decline for some time, even before former President Trump and his allies started haranguing news reporters and outlets he didn’t like as enemies of the people.
We wanted to hear more about what researchers have to say about this, so we called two of the researchers at Pew, Bradley Jones and Katerina Eva Matsa, to tell us more about what they found out. And they’re with us now. Thank you both so much for joining us.
KATERINA EVA MATSA: Thank you for having us.
BRADLEY JONES: Thank you.
MARTIN: So, Katerina, I’m going to start with you. And this is a basic question, but why focus on trust?
MATSA: We know that the news media is an important pillar of U.S. democracy, of democracy overall. So trust is a huge part of that, right? Like, we want to see how trust in the news media may have a relationship with the sources that people turn to and how, especially now, with this misinformation environment that people are in, how they manage to make sense of the world.
MARTIN: So, Bradley, your focus is politics and policy. Faith in the administration of elections has been front and center in no small part because of the riot at the U.S. Capitol. What stands out to you most about Americans’ trust in elections and their election systems?
JONES: Well, that’s exactly right. When the candidate that a person supports loses in an election, we see trust decline. That’s a pattern that we’ve seen pretty regularly throughout our data going back to 2002, after the 2000 election, when we really started studying this in depth.
MARTIN: Has either of you noticed stark trends in regards to who tends to be the most distrustful? Is there any sort of clear pattern that emerges in terms of age or political affiliation or geographic location or anything like that?
MATSA: Yeah. We actually looked at two years’ worth of data between 2019 and 2021. Definitely, partisanship is the biggest factor. And what we saw in the data is that Republicans specifically are the ones that – they have become increasingly distrustful towards the news media. So for instance, like in 2021, 35% of Republicans and Republican leaners trusted national media, compared with 78% of Democrats. Like, this is a huge gap, as you may expect. One caveat to that is that there is a relationship with who is in power at the time – so that relationship shifts. But never before, prior to 2016, we had seen that huge divide between Republicans and Democrats when it comes to their views about the news media.
MARTIN: Hmm. That’s fascinating. Bradley, there’s data to suggest that Americans trust their local elections more than they do federal elections. Can you tell us more about that?
JONES: Yeah. That’s an interesting pattern that we’ve observed across different domains. People just tend to have more comfort with the things that they’re familiar with. And so when we asked people about confidence that their own ballot was counted, we see higher levels of trust in that than people do about ballots around the country, for example.
MARTIN: So I know that you’re both researchers and not policymakers. Can you dream with me for a bit here? And I want to ask you both, what do you think this all means for American society? And what do you think needs to happen to change this?
MATSA: Yeah. I mean, as you know, it’s very tough for us to give any kind of advice in that front. Also, it’s not the one thing. Like, I could talk about polarization, and, OK, there are partisan divides. But it also is different things for different people. For instance, when it comes to trust, we saw that Black Americans are more likely to value their news media when they see themselves in the stories or when they’re – or the news media as part of the community. They’re actually more likely to have that confidence.
There’s so many elements – that’s where I’m getting at. And I know it’s maybe not a very satisfying answer, but there’s so many things that are happening that it’s very, very difficult to say, OK, we need to fix this one thing, and then the relationship is going to be repaired or trust is going to come back.
MARTIN: Well, I think it may not be simple, but if it’s the truth, that’s what we need to hear. Bradley, what about you? What are your concerns about the current moment, and what are some elements that might affect that trajectory?
JONES: Well, the biggest concern is that elections are the primary way that the public is connected to politicians, right? It’s the way that we hold politicians accountable, and it really kind of underpins the whole system. And so if faith and trust in elections is undermined, is – erodes, it’s like the foundation of the building crumbling, right?
You know, we fielded a survey in the middle of last year that had a lot of different election proposals. And there’s a fair amount of partisan agreement across issues in terms of things that could be done to reform elections. So for example, both Republicans and Democrats agree that there should be a paper trail in their balloting. There are large majorities of partisans on both sides. We also see, actually, majority support among both Republicans and Democrats for ID requirements. There’s majority support for making Election Day a holiday and other reforms like this.
So there are things that potentially could be done to bolster trust in the system. But the challenge is, just like you said at the beginning, is that it’s so often framed as a zero-sum argument. And so there are some real challenges. I think you pointed out as well that the messaging coming from elites really matters in these views. So politicians at the highest level bear a lot of responsibility for the things that they say about elections. And those kinds of things filter down into the public.
MARTIN: That was Bradley Jones, senior researcher, and Katerina Eva Matsa, associate director of research. They’re both with the Pew Research Center – such a complex conversation, obviously a conversation we need to have not just once, but many times. Thank you both so much for talking with us and sharing your expertise.
MATSA: Thank you.
JONES: Thank you so much, Michel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Social Media Increasingly Linked With Mass Shootings – Forbes
On Wednesday, authorities in Texas identified Salvador Ramos as the 18-year-old shooter who had opened fire in Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Ramos, who had killed at least 19 students and two teachers during his shooting spree on Tuesday, had allegedly posted disturbing images online prior to carrying out the senseless attack.
According to reports, an Instagram account allegedly connected to Ramos featured disturbing photos. That account has since been taken down.
It was just last week that New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, announced that her office was investigating social media companies after another mass shooter had used the online platforms to plan, promote and stream a massacre in a Buffalo grocery store that left 10 dead. James said her office would investigate Twitch, 4chan, 8chan and Discord along with other platforms that the shooter used to amplify the attack.
Many are asking if warning signs were missed.
“It is impossible to prevent people from making threats online,” explained William V. Pelfrey, Jr., Ph.D., professor in the Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Yet he suggested that social media organizations do have a moral responsibility to identify and remove threatening messaging.
“They are generally abysmal at this task. Direct threats (i.e. I want to shoot the President, I want to kill myself) frequently are flagged and investigated. Indirect threats are much harder to identify and rarely receive any attention,” Pelfrey continued. “Many social media companies will need to make decisions – protect individual’s rights to make oblique threats or protect safety. Compromising freedom of speech seems abhorrent until we weigh that compromise against the lives lost in Buffalo or the many other places where radicalized violent extremists found their motivation to kill.”
The Anti-Social Networks
As the United States remains very much in what President Joe Biden has identified as an “Uncivil War,” where the country remains so politically divided, the platforms that were once about friendly discussions have evolved very much into “anti-social networks” where people now find themselves in echo chambers that support their opinion and views.
“Social media has compounded a growing racial, cultural and gender divide in America and the world,” explained Anthony Silard, professor at the Luiss Business School, Rome, and the author of The Art of Living Free in the Digital Age.
Social media has enabled the actions of extremists to be live-streamed to the masses.
“One facet of the Buffalo shooting that is critical for understanding its conception and operation is that it was not the work of one person,” added Silard. “The shooter brought his thought community with him via live stream. They were poised and ready to send out the horrific imagery of innocent people being slaughtered before the social media site, Twitch, could take it down, in an impressive two minutes. They succeeded, yet millions watched from the comfort of their screens.
“With his thought community virtually present and at the ready, the shooter felt less alone and propped up by the hate-imbued ideology of his group,” Silard added. “Herein lies an important point for lawmakers to consider about the role of social media in this tragedy: it enabled rapid, collective action by a hate group.”
Lack Of Empathy
Social media has also been seen as responsible in lowering the empathy of most Americans. It is easy to “speak your mind” about someone on social media based on a tweet they made or something they posted on Facebook. Even like-minded individuals with similar interests can find themselves in serious flare ups that turn hostile.
This has been common with email, posts on Newsgroups and online forums, but has increased significantly in the era of social media.
“One of the primary reasons social media has become so dangerous to a healthy society is that it erodes empathy. The reason town hall meetings became a healthy medium for cross-aisle conversations is that people had to listen to each other, even when they disagreed,” said Silard.”Now that these conversations have gone online, empathy has fallen to the wayside. A recent meta-analysis of seventy-two studies conducted between 1979 and 2009, for instance, found that the empathy levels of American college students have dropped 40 percent, which the authors primarily attribute to the rise of social media.”
The social media platforms have largely failed to address the issue, and in some cases it has only served to radicalize individuals, such as the recent mass shooters.
“Social media companies like Facebook promised us that its services would encourage people to care more for each other and express their authentic views more both online and in person. None of this has happened,” warned Silard. “Instead, recent Pew research has found that people speak up less in person now for fear of retribution. Why? Social media has helped them realize there are many opposing views out there they would prefer not to confront.”
Media Advisory: Premier Furey to Announce Additional Measures to Help Residents with the Cost of Living – News Releases – Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
The Honourable Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Honourable Siobhan Coady, Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, and the Honourable Bernard Davis, Minister Responsible for Labour, will announce additional measures today (Thursday, May 26) to help Newfoundlanders and Labradorians with the cost of living. The event takes place at 1:00 p.m. in the Media Centre, East Block, Confederation Building.
The announcement will be livestreamed on Facebook.
– 30 –
Office of the Premier
Environment and Climate Change
Ideon Media announces exclusive Canadian partnership with VICE Media Group – GlobeNewswire
TORONTO, May 25, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Ideon Media announced today it will serve as the exclusive ad sales and branded content development partner for VICE Media Group (VMG), the world’s largest independent youth media group, in Canada. VMG digital properties, which include VICE.com, and Refinery29.com, reach a combined 13.3 million unique visitors in Canada per month across all platforms (GAR, GWL, Comscore, VICE Census).
The new partnership will see Ideon Media exclusively represent the commercial activity of VICE.com and Refinery29.com in Canada to brands and advertisers. This includes the sale of media advertising and sponsorships, production of branded content as well as affiliate advertising and commissions.
“VICE leaves an indelible mark on the public discourse, with impressive in-depth reporting and authentic storytelling that resonates worldwide. We’re so proud to represent VICE in Canada, and so flattered that Ideon has been given full latitude to help Canadian advertisers tell their stories on platforms like VICE and Refinery29 using Canadian talent and creators,” said Kevin Bartus, Ideon Media President and CEO.
“VICE is a true Canadian media success story, and has always been the gold standard for integrated campaigns targeting the youth demographic, and I am thrilled to be working with the company again. From best-in-class branded content, to incredible brand-sponsored events, and even cutting-edge proprietary digital ad products; VICE and Refinery29 allow brands to reach a huge Canadian audience of highly influential Gen-Z and Millennial young people in authentic and meaningful ways,” said Shawn Phelan, Vice President of Brand Partnerships, Ideon Media.
“I am delighted to be partnering with Kevin, Shawn and the team at Ideon in Canada to drive future growth across our publishing business. Our shared passion for the VICE brands, storytelling, breakthrough content solutions and our audiences will allow us to realise our ambitious growth targets in the market and to forge new opportunities with brands and advertisers,” said Luke Barnes, Chief Revenue Officer and Chief Digital Officer, EMEA, VICE Media Group.
ABOUT VICE MEDIA GROUP
VICE Media Group is the world’s largest independent youth media company. Launched in 1994, VICE has offices across 25 countries across the globe with a focus on five key businesses: VICE.com, an award-winning international network of digital content; VICE STUDIOS, a feature film and television production studio; VICE TV, an Emmy-winning international television network; a Peabody award winning NEWS division with the most Emmy-awarded nightly news broadcast; and VIRTUE, a global, full-service creative agency. VICE Media Group’s portfolio includes Refinery29, the leading global media and entertainment company focused on women; PULSE Films, a London-based next-generation production studio with outposts in Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Berlin; and i-D, a global digital and bimonthly magazine defining fashion and contemporary culture and design.
ABOUT IDEON MEDIA (www.ideonmedia.com)
Ideon Media is a Toronto-based digital firm that offers a wide spectrum of advertiser solutions with best-in-class publisher representation and wholly owned and operated sites, including SavvyMom.ca and 29Secrets.com. Ideon specializes in custom content programs created by our award-winning in-house editorial team, influencer programs, events, performance network, proprietary data, and analytics. Ideon Media reaches a combined total of 18.6 million Canadians (Comscore, March 2022).
For more information or interview requests: Shawn Phelan at email@example.com
Supreme Court of Canada to rule on sentencing for Quebec City mosque shooter
Minke whale carcass found northeast of Montreal is likely one seen near city: expert
Murray Sinclair honoured with Order of Canada at Rideau Hall ceremony
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Europe kicks off vaccination programs | All media content | DW | 27.12.2020 – Deutsche Welle
Global Media Markets, 2015-2020, 2020-2025F, 2030F – TV and Radio Broadcasting, Film and Music, Information Services, Web Content, Search Portals And Social Media, Print Media, & Cable – GlobeNewswire
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