Document Type



Journal of Free Speech Law




As ethicist and political scientist Russell Hardin observed, our willingness to trust an actor generally turns on our own experience with, and thus our own perceptions of, that actor’s motives and that actor’s competence. Changes over time and technology can alter our experience with a particular actor and thus our willingness to trust or distrust that actor.

This symposium essay focuses not on how to encourage the public to trust the media, but instead on how the media’ can behave in trustworthy ways--in other words, how its choices can demonstrate its trustworthy motives and competence. Examples include refusing to amplify destructive behavior. Disclosing data sources, evidence sets, the personal data that the media collects from its users and what it does with it. Demonstrating epistemic humility, by, for example, investing in self-education about scientific and other technical matters. Seeking out and responding to public feedback and scrutiny.