Poll: Majority of Americans express distrust of mainstream media

According to a new Gallup poll, confidence in mass media continues to fall

by The Commentator on 19 June 2013 10:31

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A new Gallup poll released yesterday shows that Americans are continuing to lose confidence in their mainstream media, with newspapers and television news affected by the trend.

Only 23 percent of Americans expressed a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in newspapers, down from 25 percent last year and 28 percent in 2011. The all-time high was in 1979, when 51 percent expressed such sentiments.

Newspapers rank near the bottom on a list of 16 societal institutions.

Television news is tied with newspapers on the list, with 23 percent of Americans also expressing confidence in it, slightly from the all-time low of 21 percent last year. The only institutions television news and newspapers beat out this year are big business, labour unions, Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), and the US Congress.

Conservatives' confidence in newspapers, at 15 percent, is down from 21 percent in 2012 and 2011. Moderates' confidence has been trending downward for the past two years, and is now at 25 percent, while those who identify themselves as 'Liberals' (Left-wing) remain the most confident in newspapers -- although not by much -- with 31 percent putting a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in them this year.

Confidence in newspapers by party mirrors the ideological findings. Democrats are most confident, at 33 percent, while independents are less so, at 19 percent, and Republicans, at 16 percent, are the least confident.

Similarly, Democrats (34 percent) express more confidence in television news than do independents (17 percent) and Republicans (18 percent).

Just two in 10 Americans aged 18 to 64 have high confidence in television news, compared with three in 10 seniors. But young adults have the most confidence in newspapers across age groups -- as was the case last year -- with three in 10 expressing a great deal or quite a lot of confidence. Women also have slightly more confidence than men in both television news and newspapers.

Gallup notes that the trend correlates with the rise of social networks and the increasingly partisan nature of cable news.

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