Gallup reports that 60% of Americans say they have little or no trust in the mass media “to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly”; Distrust is up from the past few years, when Americans were already more negative about the media than they had been in years prior to 2004.
“Trust in the media was much higher, and more positive than negative, in the years prior to 2004 — as high as 72% when Gallup asked this question three times in the 1970s,” reports Lymari Morales.
Highlights from the just-released poll:
* This year’s decline in media trust is driven by independents and Republicans.
* Only 26% of Republicans have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. (It’s 31% for independents.)
* Democrats have the most trust (58%) in the media.
* Even though they don’t trust the media, Republicans are most likely to be paying close attention to news about national politics. (48% are following national political news “very closely” vs. 33% of Democrats and 39% of independents.)
On a broad level, Americans’ high level of distrust in the media poses a challenge to democracy and to creating a fully engaged citizenry. Media sources must clearly do more to earn the trust of Americans, the majority of whom see the media as biased one way or the other. At the same time, there is an opportunity for others outside the “mass media” to serve as information sources that Americans do trust.