Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Trust in Mass Media Returns to All-Time Low

Americans' confidence in the mass media's (television, radio, and newspapers) ability to report "the news fully, accurately, and fairly" has returned to its previous all-time low of 40%, according to a Gallup poll released today.


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.


Gallup speculates that 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.


Trust among Democrats, who have traditionally expressed much higher levels of confidence in the media than Republicans have, dropped to a 14-year low of 54% in 2014.  Republicans' trust in the media is at 27%, one percentage point above their all-time low, while independents held steady at 38% -- up one point from 37% in 2013.


Perceived Media Bias by Party Affiliation 





















As has been the case historically, Americans are most likely to feel the news media are "too liberal" (44%) rather than "too conservative" (19%).  One in three (34%) say the media are "just about right" in terms of their coverage -- down slightly from 37% last year.


Conservatives (70%) are far more likely than liberals (15%) to perceive the media as too liberal. Moderates' views are closer to liberals, with 35% calling the media too liberal. Likewise, relatively few moderates -- similar to conservatives -- think the media are too conservative.


Democrats -- with a small majority of 52% -- are most likely to think the media are just about right, while a mere 18% of Republicans feel this way about the news. More than seven in 10 Republicans say the media are too liberal.