Report Reveals Decline of Objective Journalism and Decay of Truth in US Media

What anchors the emergence of post-truth politics in the U.S. is the steady decline of U.S. journalism as news reporting becomes more ‘opinion-based.’

Abdullah Ayasun
3 min readMay 22, 2019


(Photo: Medium)

The demise of truth in the U.S. does not only come from a crusade by populist demagogues and chauvinist politicians. The way how journalism, a revered professional conduct, is practiced also facilitates the decay of truth, a recent report by U.S.-based RAND Corporation has found, revealing that news articles are loaded with more and more commentary and editorialized approach than they were normally used to be.

According to the exhaustive and comprehensive report by RAND, the U.S. media outlets have increasingly embraced opinion-based content while ‘objective reporting’ began to lose its former significance and ascendancy. The shift has taken place over the course of 28 years.

The dominance of online journalism after the digital and internet revolution during the 1990s and 2000s also appears to have swung the pendulum against traditional forms of reporting.

“Over time, and as society moved from “old” to “new” media, news content has generally shifted from more-objective event- and context-based reporting to reporting that is more subjective, relies more heavily on argumentation and advocacy, and includes more emotional appeals.”

The report adds:

These changes were observed across platforms, appearing least significant in the evolution of print journalism and most stark in comparisons of broadcast news with prime-time cable programming and of print journalism with online journalism.

RAND uses the term Truth Decay to describe the demise of journalistic conduct in general, and “objective reporting” in particular. Truth Decay, as described by RAND, “refers to the…



Abdullah Ayasun

New York-based journalist and writer. Columbia School of Journalism. 2023 White House Correspondents' Association Scholar. Twitter: @abyasun