Canadians are losing trust in the mainstream media, according to a new Ipsos poll.
The poll, which was done by Ipsos in partnership with RTDNA Canada, found that Canadians have lost a little faith in the media; 65 per cent of respondents said they had trust in the media, compared to 69 per cent of respondents who said the same in 2017.
Despite that, 79 per cent of respondents said they are still more likely to side with the media over the government, when the government says news reports aren’t accurate.
Pollster Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs, said that Canadians’ inclination to avoid news of U.S. President Donald Trump could offer a reason for the decline in trust.
More than half of respondents (53 per cent) say they try to avoid news about Trump.
“One is left with the impression to look at how much people are reacting negatively to coverage of Donald Trump that there’s potentially some sort of a correlation here,” Bricker said.
“It’s a dilemma — Donald Trump is the news but covering frequently is seen as distasteful by Canadians,” Bricker said. “And as a result of his having a bit of a corrosive effect, I would say in terms of the trust of the Canadian media, particularly broadcast.”
The poll found that a majority of respondents (59 per cent) do trust the mainstream media to give unbiased political coverage.
As for their coverage of Canadian political leaders, 53 per cent say the news media is fair.
But about half of respondents think there can often be an “unfair pile-on when Canadian leaders have a misstep or gaffe.”
Too much news?
While six in 10 respondents (61 per cent) said they are exposed to the correct amount of news, more than a quarter (28 per cent) say they are overwhelmed by the amount of news out there.
If you’re in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, that number jumps to 40 per cent.
Another 11 per cent said they want more news.
Bricker said the fact that Canadians are overwhelmed by the news is a noteworthy statistic.
“We’ve been seeing in other places in our research where Canadians just feel that there’s too much information and too much choice and they’re shutting down,” he said.
Where are we getting our news and who do we trust most?
Canadians are also turning to online media for their news, 42 per cent of respondents say they got their news from social media, up two points from last year. Newspaper websites are used by 37 per cent of respondents (compared to 35 per cent in 2017) and online-only news publications are used by 25 per cent of respondents (same as last year.)
In contrast, broadcast TV and print news are down over last year – only 51 per cent of respondents said they got their news from TV news (compared to 58 per cent in 2017) and 40 per cent said they got their news from print newspapers (compared to 42 per cent last year.
As for radio, both news radio and talk radio gained points with 41 per cent and 29 per cent of respondents getting their news through that medium, respectively. Last year, 40 per cent said they accessed news through news radio, and 25 per cent said talk radio.
As for which medium is more trusted, broadcast news and newspapers still take the cake.
More than half of respondents, 59 per cent, said they trust broadcast news, even though that’s down three points from last year.
Another 59 per cent say they trust newspapers, and that’s up one point from 2017.
As for online-only news publications, they jumped 18 points; 34 per cent of respondents said they trust those sources.
“But still, even though they’re up, there’s quite a bit behind traditional broadcast TV news which remains at the top in terms of level of credibility,” Bricker explained.
As you might expect, younger people were more inclined to get their news from online sources like Facebook or social media, whereas respondents who are 55 years or older preferred broadcast TV or print newspapers.
Sharing news on Facebook and social media
Canadians are more likely to trust a news story if it’s been shared by their friends and family, the poll found.
When asked if they were “more or less trusting” of an article depending on who shared it, 44 per cent said they were more trusting if they knew the person sharing it.
Only 40 per cent said they were more trusting if it was shared by a traditional Canadian media company.
The numbers drop to 14 per cent and 8 per cent for news shared by politicians and celebrities.
Here’s how Canadians said they accessed news this past month:
- Broadcast TV news: 51%
- Facebook: 46%
- Social media (generally): 42%
- News radio: 41%
- Print newspapers: 40%
- Cable news 39%
- Newspapers’ websites: 37%
- Talk radio: 29%
- Online-only news publications 25%
- Twitter: 13%
Which sources of news do Canadians trust most?
- Broadcast TV news 59%
- Print newspapers 59%
- News radio 51%
- Cable news 51%
- Newspapers’ websites 51%
- Talk radio 40%
- Online-only news publications 34%
- Social media 17%
- Facebook 14%
- Twitter 12%
This Ipsos in partnership with RTDNA Canada poll was an online survey of 1,000 Canadians conducted between May 16 and 21, 2018. The results were weighted to better reflect the composition of the adult Canadian population, according to census data. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is considered accurate to within plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.