Gallup: Trust in the Media Rebounds, Albeit Slightly

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By: E&P Staff

Widely hailed for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina, the American news media appears to be regaining the trust of the American people.

According to Gallup’s annual Governance survey, the number of Americans who trust the press has increased significantly since last year, although it’s still slightly lower than what Gallup has charted in recent years.

Still, close to half of those surveyed said the media is too liberal, followed by a third who say the press is about right. A smaller number describes the media as too conservative.

The differences in opinion largely fall along party lines. Democrats are much more likely to express confidence in the media, while Republicans are much more likely to perceive bias.

Gallup’s study, conducted Sep. 12-15, finds that 50% of Americans say they have a great deal (13%) or fair amount (37%) of trust and confidence in the mass media, up from 45% at the same time last year. Forty nine percent of respondents say they do not have very much trust (37%) or none at all (12%) in the media, down from 55% last year.

Gallup found that when asked about the news media’s political leanings, Americans are much more likely to say they are too liberal (46%) than they are to say they are about right (37%) or too conservative (16%).

Those views have changed little since 2001.

Democrats (70%) are much more likely to say they have a great deal or fair amount of trust and confidence in the media than Republicans (31%). On the opposite end of the question, 69% of Republicans say they have very little or no trust in the media, as opposed to Democrats (30%).

Eight in 10 Republicans (81%) say the news media are too liberal, while 15% say they are about right, and just 3% say they are too conservative. Among Democrats, a majority (57%) says the news media are just about right, while the rest are almost equally divided in their description of the news media as too liberal (18%) and too conservative (23%).

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