America’s Trust in Media Remains at All-Time Low

Reuters/Mike Blake
Reuters/Mike Blake

A Gallup poll finds that Americans still don’t trust the media and that low level of trust remains at an all-time low.

Only four in ten respondents said they have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in the media to accurately report the news in a fair manner. This result ties the historic lows measured in 2012 and 2014, Gallup said.

The collapse in confidence is a decade in the making. In surveys from 2004 and before, Gallup found that slight majorities trusted the media.

“Americans’ confidence in the media has slowly eroded from a high of 55% in 1998 and 1999,” Gallup wrote on Monday. “Since 2007, the majority of Americans have had little or no trust in the mass media. Trust has typically dipped in election years, including 2004, 2008, 2012 and last year. However, 2015 is not a major election year.”

According to Gallup, in 1999, 55 percent of Americans trusted the media. Today, that has fallen to 40 percent.

Gallup went on to note that this falling level of trust in the media mirrors the dropping level of trust in many of the nation’s institutions, not to mention the growing lack of trust in the federal government.

There is an age difference in the level of trust in the media. Those under 50 had significantly less trust in the media than older respondents. Those over 50 trusted the media at 45 percent, while younger respondents only measured in at 36 percent.

There was quite a spread between Democrats and Republicans, too. While both had low levels of trust, at 55 percent, Democrats trusted the media much more than the 32 percent realized by Republicans. The result from Independents was similar to Republicans at only 33 percent trust in the media.

An earlier Gallup poll looking at particular media noted that trust in newspapers is currently at a low 24 percent, eight points below the historical average. TV news measured at 21 percent, which is nine points below the historical average.

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