Gallup: Americans’ Distrust of Mass Media at Record High

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By: E&P Staff

A record-high majority of Americans have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly, a new Gallup poll has found.

This is the fourth straight year that most respondents to Gallup’s annual Governance poll said they did not trust the media, and this year’s percentage making that claim (57%) is a record high, up from 56% last year.

Additionally, the 43% of Americans who said they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the mass media ties the record low — and is far worse than three prior Gallup readings on this measure from the 1970s.

The poll was conducted between Sept. 13-16 of this year with a random sample of 1,019 adults, aged 18 and older, living in the continental U.S., selected using random-digit-dial sampling. The question on whether the media are too liberal, too conservative, or just about right is part of a USA Today/Gallup poll series conducted as part of the same survey.

The public’s trust in the media is now even lower than its trust in the executive and judicial branches of government. These findings follow a separate Gallup poll that found little confidence in newspapers and television.

Nearly half of those polled (48%) claim the media are too liberal — within the 44% to 48% range recorded in the past 10 years. About one-third say the media are just about right, while 15% say they are too conservative. More than half (63%) perceive bias in one direction or the other. Despite the fragmentation of media and emergence of more politically segregated news outlets in recent years, these views now are the same as those recorded in 2004.

Gallup found that lower-income respondents and those with less education are generally more likely to trust the media than are those with more education and higher incomes.  

Check out the poll’s methodology, full question results, and trend data here.

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