About 60 percent of Americans say they regularly see conflicting reports about the same set of facts from different sources.
…“Now more than ever, the lines between fact-based reporting and opinionated commentary seem blurred for people,” said Evette Alexander, research director at the Knight Foundation, which funds journalism and research. “That means they trust what they are seeing less. They are feeling less informed.”
They are also tuning out. Mr. Trudell, a registered independent, stopped paying attention to national news about a year ago. He found it toxic and mentally taxing, and it started arguments that had no end.
…National politics, he said, has started to look like eyewitness testimony: “People can see totally different things, standing right next to each other.”
…How do you have a society without shared reference points, he said Thursday.
…“There’s so much information that’s biased, that no one believes anything. There is so much out there and you don’t know what to believe, so it’s like there is nothing.”
Fake information is only part of the problem. Another is the sheer volume of news and the growing proportion of it that is opinion. Fatigue with it cuts across partisan lines.
…“On the right you have this feeling that the cultural tide has swung against people like me,” said Mr. Hawkins, who grew up evangelical. “There’s this sense of victimhood toward government, media and academia. ‘These people have contempt for us, if not downright hatred, and so cannot be a reliable witness for what we are seeing day to day.’”
…“They had this sense that they had to be skeptical of everything out there but they didn’t have the time to spend hours to make sense of it,” he said.