Since President Trump took office, he has relentlessly attacked the media. He’s shunned individual reporters, referred to the press as “the enemy of the American people,” and popularized the term “fake news” to denigrate credible articles. Meanwhile, public trust in the press is at an all-time low. According to a recent Knight-Gallup report, only a third of Americans view the press positively.
There is increasing evidence that this skepticism, exacerbated by the president’s relentless attacks, is trickling down to the next generation of voters. A 2017 report on a series of focus groups with 52 people between the ages of 14 and 24, conducted by Data & Society and the Knight Foundation, found that many young Americans believe the news is biased and are skeptical of its accuracy. “There was no assumption that the news would convey the truth or would be worthy of their trust,” the study reported.
Teenagers, in particular, appear to be increasingly questioning the credibility and value of traditional media organizations. In interviews with The Atlantic, teens expressed great skepticism about the accuracy of the mainstream media, reiterated Trump’s biased characterization of many news sources, and said the president’s outrageous tweets have become so much a part of everyday life that they’ve morphed into catchphrases.
The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE. I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People. They purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2018
“I don’t believe there [are] any neutral news organizations,” said Emma Neely, a 19-year-old in Tennessee. “Each writer and editor has their own personal bias. What they write, even if it’s a little biased, it’s still biased.”