Gallup: Americans, Especially Republicans, 'Remain Largely Mistrustful of the Mass Media'

By Susan Jones | September 26, 2019 | 6:36am EDT
The White House press corps goes at it with President Trump. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

( - A Gallup poll released on Thursday says, "Americans remain largely mistrustful of the mass media."

The poll found that only 41 percent of Americans have either a "great deal" of trust (13 percent) or a "fair amount" of trust (28 percent) in newspapers, television and radio to report the news "fully, accurately and fairly."

Gallup said this represents a four-percentage-point drop since last year; and it marks the end of earlier improvements since the record low of 32 percent trust in 2016, the run-up to the election.

Gallup said Republicans' trust is at a very low level -- 15 percent; while 69 percent of Democrats and 36 percent of independents say they have trust and confidence in the media.

Gallup first measured trust in the mass media in a 1972 survey when 68 percent of Americans said they trusted it. Similar levels were recorded in 1974 (69 percent) and 1976 (72 percent), but two decades later, when Gallup next asked the question, trust had fallen to 53 percent.

Gallup opines that part of the distrust can be blamed on President Trump.

According to the report:

Americans' trust in the media has been eroding over time, but in the current highly polarized climate, the views of political partisans have become increasingly divergent. President Donald Trump's description of the media as "the enemy of the people" has undoubtedly colored the views of all Americans.

Republicans became increasingly mistrustful of the media in 2016 when Trump was campaigning for president and was sharply critical of the media's coverage of him.

Between 2015 and 2016, Republican trust in the mass media fell 18 points to its historical low of 14%, where it remained in 2017. Following a seven-point boost last year, it has returned to 15%.

For their part, Democrats have consistently been more trusting of the media than Republicans but rallied around the press and became even more trusting when Trump took office in 2017.

The latest data show that in the last year, trust has declined slightly among all partisan groups, but still remains sharply polarized.

Gallup notes that Fox News is the only national news source with majority-level trust from Republicans, while majorities of Democrats trust six national news sources.

Republicans were much more likely than Democrats to perceive bias, inaccuracy and misinformation in newspapers, on television and on radio.


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