Gallup reports: The percentage of Americans who trust the media dropped to its lowest level since Gallup launched an annual series monitoring American attitudes towards the media in 1997, according to results posted Wednesday.
“Republicans who say they have trust in the media has plummeted to 14 percent from 32 percent a year ago,” wrote Art Swift, Gallup’s managing editor, accounting for the generally sharp fall in public confidence.
“This is easily the lowest confidence among Republicans in 20 years,” he said.
“With many Republican leaders and conservative pundits saying Hillary Clinton has received overly positive media attention, while Donald Trump has been receiving unfair or negative attention, this may be the prime reason their relatively low trust in the media has evaporated even more,” Swift said.
“It is also possible that Republicans think less of the media as a result of Trump’s sharp criticisms of the press,” he said.
Gallup started asking the question about trust in the media in 1972, but not regularly until 1997. Confidence in the media peaked in 1976 at 72 percent.
Among Democrats and Independents there was not such a dramatic change:
Democrats’ and independents’ trust in the media has declined only marginally, with 51 percent of Democrats, compared with 55 percent last year, and 30 percent of independents, versus 33 percent last year, expressing trust. Over the past 20 years, Democrats have generally expressed more trust than Republicans in the media, although in 2000, the two parties were most closely aligned, with 53 percent of Democrats and 47 percent of Republicans professing trust.
Respondents were asked: “In general, how much trust and confidence do you have in the mass media–such as newspapers, TV and radio, when it comes to reporting the news fully, accurately and fairly–a great deal, a fair amount, not very much or none at all?
In 1997, the percentage of people answering “a great deal” or “a fair amount” started at 53 percent, then rose to 55 percent in 1999.
In 2004, the confidence dropped from 54 in 2003 to 44 in 2004, but rebounded to 50 in 2005. The poll in 2004 was the first time the media confidence fell below 50 percent. But, from 2007 to 2015, the confidence bounced between 47 percent in 2007 and 40 percent in 2012, 2014, and 2015.
The Gallup results validate findings of the Breitbart/Gravis poll conducted Sept. 7 and Sept. 8, wherein 52 percent of respondents said the media treats GOP nominee for president Donald J. Trump negatively compared to how other politicians are treated and 44 percent said the media treats Democratic nominee Hillary R. Clinton positively compared to others.
Asked if major news outlets challenge or support the political establishment in Washington in the Breitbart/Gravis poll, 43 percent said the major news outlets support the establishment and only 17 percent said the outlets challenge the establishment in the capital.