Politico co-founder urges media to 'be more humble' as trust in journalism plummets

Only 14% of voters expressed a 'great deal of trust' in mainstream media in a new poll

Journalists need to show humility and get off X to restore public trust, a media veteran advised.

Politico and Axios co-founder Jim VandeHei appeared on "CNN This Morning" to promote his book "Just the Good Stuff" on Thursday. During his segment, host Kasie Hunt brought up an Associated Press poll that found 53% of Americans were "extremely" or "very" concerned about media outlets spreading "inaccurate information" or "disinformation." The poll also found only 14% of voters expressed a "great deal of trust" in mainstream media.

When Hunt asked VanderHei what can be done about the lack of trust in journalism, he admitted that reporters share some of the blame.

Stack of newspapers

Politico and Axios co-founder Jim VandeHei blamed both outside forces and journalists for losing the public's trust. (IStock)

"I think us in the media, we have to be a little more humble. And we have to realize our job is to be clinical in delivering the information. Try to get to the closest approximation of the truth. If we screw it up, be humble enough to admit it and maybe get off Twitter and maybe stop popping off in ways that make people distrust the work that you do," he said.


VanderHei added, "I‘ve dedicated my life to trying to get to the closest approximation of the truth. And you have a lot of forces out there that have tried to diminish the work that we do. And, quite frankly, I think there‘s things that people in the media have done to diminish some of the work that we do. But I always tell people, you better step back and be careful with what you‘re playing with here because you‘re playing with fire."

Politico co-founder Jim VandeHei

VandeHei appeared on "CNN This Morning" and talked about trust in the media. (CNN)

"I‘m saddened by it, the fact that so many people don‘t trust what we do," he lamented.

A Gallup poll in 2023 found that only 32% of Americans have "a great deal" or "a fair amount" of trust in mainstream media, Gallup’s lowest reported number since 2016.

The poll also found that 29% of Americans reported "not very much" trust in the news with a record number of 39% saying they had "none at all." 

During the segment, VanderHei also warned about the dangerous impact a lack of trust in the media could have on society.


Democrats and Republicans coverage by CNN, MSNBC, and NBC

A record number of Americans reported no trust in the mainstream media according to a 2023 Gallup poll. (Tetra Images/GettyImages)

"If we suddenly have a country that trusts nothing, and there‘s no sources of common truth, it‘s going to be really hard to govern. It‘s gonna be really hard to avoid protests and know what‘s really happening on these campuses," he said. "And if you look back at the history of the country, a free press is such an awesome, distinctive, needed, necessary, vital piece of this awesome country. And that‘s how we know so much of what‘s happening. It’s how we expose so much malfeasance."

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