A Gallup poll published on Friday revealed that only 32% of Americans trust the media to report the news fairly and accurately. This is the same record low level of trust that was recorded in 2016. In addition, the poll found that a record 39% of Americans do not trust the media at all.
Interestingly, even Democrats, who typically have more confidence in the media than Republicans, have experienced a decrease in trust over the past year. Only 58% of Democrats expressed some level of trust, a 12-point decline from 2022. This decline in trust among younger Democrats is said to be a contributing factor.
On the other side of the political spectrum, only 11% of Republicans reported having confidence in the media establishment. However, it is worth noting that the 47-point gap between the two major political parties is the narrowest it has been since 2016, when Republicans’ trust in the media significantly decreased.
The Gallup poll surveyed 1,016 Americans during the first two weeks of September. It is only the second time since 1972, when Gallup began asking this question, that more Americans have expressed no confidence in the media than those who claimed to have a fair amount or a great deal of trust.
Even during the “fake news” crisis of the 2016 presidential election, the Americans surveyed were more likely to say they had “not very much” trust in the media (41%) rather than “none at all” (27%).
The decline in trust in the media among Americans has been a consistent trend in recent years. Back in the 1970s, between 68% and 72% of Americans expressed some level of trust. However, since 2005, when 44% had confidence in the media, that portion has steadily declined. In fact, since 2005, fewer than half of poll respondents have said they trust the media to report the news fairly and accurately.
In a separate Gallup poll in July, it was found that only 18% of respondents had confidence in newspapers and just 16% in television news. This was lower than the levels of trust in Big Tech and the banking industry, which were both at 26%. Only Congress (8%) and Big Business (14%) consistently received lower trust levels.
The public’s trust in journalists’ ethical standards is also quite low, with 42% of respondents rating them as “low” or “very low.” Journalists were ranked higher than car salesmen and telemarketers, but lower than lawyers and real estate agents. Despite the industry’s concerns about declining trust, there has been no reversal of this trend.
Overall, the Gallup poll highlights the lack of trust Americans have in the media’s ability to report the news accurately and fairly. This decline in trust spans across both political parties and is a continuing trend that the media industry has been unable to address.