On July 11, the Pew Forum on Religion in Public Life released the results of a survey in which the American public was asked whether different occupational groups contributed “a lot” to society’s well-being.
The results clearly showed Americans’ respect for the journalistic profession has nosedived during the Obama era. Among the ten occupational groups listed, approval of journalists dropped the most in the last four years.
Four years ago, 38 percent of Americans approved of journalists; that number is now down to 28 percent. Women have dropped in their support of journalists from 46 percent to 29 percent. The plummeting approval for journalists is bi-partisan; Republicans/leaning Republicans are down eight percent and Democrats/leaning Democrats are down 10 percent.
Compare those numbers to the military, with a 78 percent approval rating, teachers (72 percent), medical doctors (66 percent), scientists (65 percent), engineers (63 percent), clergy (37 percent), and even artists (30 percent). The only groups rated lower than journalists were business executives (24 percent), and lawyers (18 percent).
When asked specifically about journalists, 28 percent of those polled said they contribute a lot to society, but 27 percent said they contribute “not very much” or “nothing at all.”
The cynicism of Americans toward journalists has been expressed elsewhere. A 2012 General Social Survey (GSS), showed that only 10 percent of Americans had confidence in leaders of “television” (10 percent) and only nine percent had confidence in “the press.”