trust in media
Murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (Image: Flickr)

I hear it all the time. "You can’t trust the media." It is often used to delegitimise a piece of information or dismiss an argument, which can be frustrating, and use of the term "the media" is too reductive in its assumption that all media are the same. Beyond the logical fallacy though, the phrase is far more sinister in what it proposes about the state of journalism.

I know there is some truth in it. After all, media ownership in Australia is one of the most highly concentrated in the world, especially following the merger of Nine Entertainment and Fairfax last year. The ABC too has suffered ever-increasing cuts to funding and pressure from the Liberal Party. A 2018 Edelman survey of 28 countries showed that Australians’ trust in media was second lowest, next to Turkey. Admittedly, we’re not the best, but we’re certainly not the worst. Australia still ranks 21 out of 180 countries listed by Reporters without Borders on their world press freedom index.