AP: People Don’t Trust Media Because They Don’t Know ‘What Journalists Do,’ That They’re ‘Friends and Neighbors’

Craig Bannister | May 2, 2024

People are simply ignorant of what journalists do, and that they’re their friends and neighbors, according to an Associated Press (AP) article attempting to explain away results of a new survey showing that more than half of Americans greatly trust the election news they’re being fed.

The national poll of adults by the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, conducted March 21-25, reveals that Americans do, indeed, distrust the media’s election coverage.

The AP article fails to report that the survey results show that more than four of five – 83% – of adults say they’re at least “somewhat” concerned about the accuracy of what the media’s reporting about the upcoming election.

Still, the article does disclose that more than half of adults have even more serious concerns about the integrity of what the media's telling them:

  • 53% are “extremely“ or “very“ concerned that news organizations will report inaccuracies or misinformation during the election.
  • 52% have little, or no confidence at all, in the information they receive from national news organizations regarding the 2024 elections.
  • 53% have little or no confidence in the information they receive from local news organizations regarding the 2024 elections.



Americans also say they’re either extremely or very concerned that news organizations’ election coverage will:

  • “Focus too much on divisions or controversies” (48%),”
  • “Report information that has not been confirmed or verified.” (47%), and
  • “Report factual information that favors one side of an issue.” (44%)


In an effort to absolve the media from blame for the results, AP cited the reaction of one of the survey’s sponsors, American Press Institute CEO Michael Bolden.

Bolden blamed the Americans’ distrust, not on media bias or inaccuracy, but on the public’s ignorance and politicians:

“Years of suspicion about journalists, much of it sown by politicians, is partly responsible, he said. People are also less familiar with how journalism works.”

“There may have been a time when people knew a journalist because one lived on their block…that’s much less likely today.”

Americans’ ignorance has caused their “disconnect” from the media, so news outlets need to educate them, especially about “what journalists do” and how they’re actually their “friends and neighbors,” Bolden advised:

“There’s a growing disconnect between news organizations and communities that the outlets need to address, by helping to let people know what journalists do and how people reporting news are their friends and neighbors, he said.

“Outlets should lean into a convenor role, bringing people together for newsworthy events, he said.”

Thus, the people and politicians are really the ones to blame for the public’s growing distrust of the news they’re getting, the AP article suggests.