At 34%, Americans’ trust in the mass media to report the news “fully, accurately and fairly” is essentially unchanged from last year and just two points higher than the lowest that Gallup has recorded, in 2016 during the presidential campaign. Just 7% of Americans have “a great deal” of trust and confidence in the media, and 27% have “a fair amount.” Meanwhile, 28% of U.S. adults say they do not have very much confidence and 38% have none at all in newspapers, TV and radio. Notably, this is the first time that the percentage of Americans with no trust at all in the media is higher than the percentage with a great deal or a fair amount combined.
The survey, released Wednesday by Gallup and the Knight Foundation, goes beyond others that have shown a low level of trust in the media to the startling point where many believe there is an intent to deceive. Asked whether they agreed with the statement that national news organizations do not intend to mislead, 50% said they disagreed. Only 25% agreed, the study found.
Americans’ trust in the media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly has edged down four percentage points since last year to 36%, making this year’s reading the second lowest in Gallup’s trend. In all, 7% of U.S. adults say they have “a great deal” and 29% “a fair amount” of trust and confidence in newspapers, television and radio news reporting — which, combined, is four points above the 32% record low in 2016, amid the divisive presidential election campaign between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
At a time when Americans are relying heavily on the media for information about the coronavirus pandemic, the presidential election and other momentous events, the public remains largely distrustful of the mass media. According to Gallup, four in 10 U.S. adults say they have “a great deal” (9%) or “a fair amount” (31%) of trust and confidence in the media to report the news “fully, accurately, and fairly,” while six in 10 have “not very much” trust (27%) or “none at all” (33%).
In a contentious political landscape, Americans increasingly believe the news media generally favors one political party over the other, according to a new poll by Gallup. Sixty-two percent of U.S. adults say the media has a favorite, up from about 50% in past years. Just 27% now say the media favors neither major party.
Americans’ confidence in newspapers and television news rebounded slightly in the past year, having been stuck at record lows since 2007. However, the 28% of Americans who express a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in newspapers and the 27% who say the same about television news still lag significantly behind the levels of trust seen through much of the 1990s and into 2003.