Carey Wedler (TheAntiMedia)
September 18, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C.-A Gallup poll released on Wednesday indicated that Americans are increasingly distrustful of mainstream news, classified as newspaper, radio, and television. Of those polled, only 40% indicated they had a “great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in the mass media to report the news “fully, accurately, and fairly.” The other response options were “not very much” and “not at all.”
Gallup’s findings demonstrate the lowest levels of trust in the history of the poll, which began in 1997.Prior to former President George W. Bush’s re-election year in 2004, levels of trust had hovered between 51% and 55% from year to year, but from 2003 to 2004, plunged 10 points from 56% to 46%. Though the figure rebounded up to 50% in 2005, it dipped in 2006 and since, has remained consistently under 50%. Gallup pointed out that trust tends to drop even further during election years, citing 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014. It suggested that “something about national elections triggers skepticism about the accuracy of the news media’s reporting.”
Further, the poll found that while Democrats harbored their lowest level of trust in fourteen years, a majority (54%) still held a great deal or fair amount. Independent voters came in second highest in trust, gaining a point from 2013 at 38%. Republicans displayed the lowest amount of trust and 27%, scored only a point higher than the all-time Republican low in 2012.
While 44% of Americans believe the media is too liberal, those who found it to be too conservative jumped from 13% to 19%, a small proportion but a significant increase. Conservatives and Republicans were far more likely to believe the media was too liberal (71% and 70% respectively) while roughly half of Democrats and liberals believed it was “about right” (52% and 49%).
Gallup projected that in 2015, once election season is over, there will be a slight uptick in trust of the mass media. Still, expressed doubt that the general decrease will slow given the overall decrease over the last 10-15 years. It attributed this overarching pattern of decline to “new domains of news reporting via social media networks and new mobile technology,” distrust of institutions, and a “general lack of trust overall.”
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