Not a fan of the mass media?  You just might not live as long,  according to a BMC Medicine study of people from 29 Asian countries which says that individuals with high levels of trust in the mass media tend to be healthier.

Unless we are your mass media.   We have articles for and against the health claims related to chocolate, for example, along with articles for and against almost everything else.    Sometimes life is easier if you pick a position first and just write articles that support it but scientific neutrality holds us back from that time-honored path.

A team of researchers led by Yasuharu Tokuda from St. Luke's International Hospital and Takashi Inoguchi from Chuo University, both in Tokyo, used data from a survey of 39,000 people to investigate the relationships between trust and self-reported health. Tokuda said, "This study is the first to analyze this relationship. Our findings suggest that mass media programs can contribute towards better health, especially among those people who have trust in mass media. The media need to recognize the importance of their important social role in terms of public health."

Slightly over 50% of the Asian participants reported that they 'trust a lot' or 'trust to a degree' in mass media. The group that reported being healthiest were young, married, high-income, and highly-educated women with a high trust in interpersonal relations as well as in the healthcare system and mass media.

People in Brunei reported the highest levels of health, while those in Turkmenistan had the lowest opinion of their own well being. People in the Maldives reported the highest level of trust in mass media while Hong Kong residents were the most cynical. 

According to Tokuda, "One potential pathway from high trust in mass media to better health is increased acceptance of health-related messages and the resultant dissemination of good behavior related to health throughout communities."

What does that mean for Americans?    It means that for the most part journalists, and the mainstream media, get it right.   Sure, if you are a Huffington Post reader  you  will assume Fox News gets nothing right, but that's just political slant.   Generally, professional journalists  check their facts and may be rushing to report on health claims but that doesn't mean they are endorsing them.

Article: The Relationship between Trust in Mass Media and the Healthcare System and Individual Health: Evidence from the AsiaBarometer Survey, Yasuharu Tokuda, Seiji Fujii, Masamine Jimba and Takashi Inoguchi, BMC Medicine (in press)