Gallup: Confidence in Mass Media Matches 2016 Record Low

October 19th, 2023 5:10 PM

Since 1972, the pollsters at Gallup have been asking about confidence in the mass media. On Thursday, they announced their latest poll found only 32 percent of the public have a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in the media’s news reporting.

Megan Brenan reported the latest poll, conducted September 1 to 23, "marks just the second time, along with last year, that the share of Americans who have no confidence at all in the media has surpassed the percentage with a great deal or fair amount of trust." This is the Gallup question: 

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?

That 32 percent number ties Gallup’s lowest historical reading, previously recorded in 2016. But it was statistically similar in 2021 (36%) and 2022 (34%).

What should depress the media elite is a record-high 39 percent picked the answer “none at all.” That's the highest on record by one percentage point and 12 points higher than the 2016 reading.

Why? Democrats’ trust in the media has fallen 12 points over the past year, to 58%, and compares with 11% among Republicans and 29% among independents. That gap is notably smaller than the chasm under Trump, where Democrats were happier. We could joke that the 11 percent of Republicans who trust the press are so happy with CNN and MSNBC that they could have been picked by Nancy Pelosi for a January 6 committee.

Brenan added "Aggregated data last year showed that young Democrats trust the media far less than older Democrats, while Republicans are less varied in their views by age group." Older Democrats are the establishment/"swamp," while the younger contingent is probably radical and "woke," the kind of Democrats who get someone fired for publishing an article by Republican Sen. Tom Cotton. 

In June, Gallup found confidence readings in both TV news and newspapers that were near their historical lows and last December found a record-low-tying rating of the honesty and ethics of journalists.