Trust us! We’re the media!
A new Gallup poll finds that just 40 percent of Americans trust the mainstream media, although some reporting seeing an increasing conservative bias therein.
September 17, 2014 - 2:29 pm
Only 40 percent of Americans trust the mainstream media a “great deal” or “fair amount” to report the news fully, accurately and fairly, according to a new Gallup poll. That result is a tie for lowest level of trust in the media in at least two decades.
The trust level dropped four percentage points from the rating in 2013, and ties the 40 percent low recorded in 2012, the most recent presidential election year. It’s 15 points lower than the most recent high of 55 percent recorded in 1999. According to Gallup, trust in the media generally declines in election years, and inches up slightly thereafter.
Both Republicans and Democrats report a decline in trust in the media, with the percentage of Democrats saying they have a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in the media falling from 60 percent in 2013 to 54 percent this year. Republicans — who have always logged a lower level of trust in the media — fell from 33 percent in 2013 to 27 percent this year.
But independents actually reported a slight increase of trust in the media — from 37 percent last year to 38 percent this year.
When it comes to media bias — a key factor affecting trust — 44 percent said the media was “too liberal” in this year’s survey, a number that has remained fairly constant over the past 12 years. Another 34 percent said the media is “just about right,” in terms of bias.
But there was a sharp increase in the number of Americans who reported the media was “too conservative,” a jump of six percentage points to 19 percent. That number has hovered between 13 percent and 15 percent in recent years, but did hit 19 percent between 2006 and 2007.
Perhaps not surprisingly, conservatives (at 70 percent) were more likely to label the media as “too liberal,” although a much smaller percentage of liberals (33 percent) said the media is “too conservative.”
“Though a sizable percentage of Americans continue to have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media, Americans’ overall trust in the Fourth Estate continues to be significantly lower now than it was 10 to 15 years ago.
“As the media expand into new domains of news reporting via social media networks and new mobile technology, Americans may be growing disenchanted with what they consider ‘mainstream’ news as they seek out their own personal veins of getting information. At the same time, confidence is down across many institutions, and a general lack in trust overall could be at play.”