Gallup: Americans mistrust media more than ever


Sixty percent of Americans said they trust the mass media "Not very much" or "Not at all," a Gallup survey published Friday says. That's the highest percentage since Gallup started asking the question regularly in the '90s, it reports.

Republicans and independents are pushing that number up. Nearly 60 percent of Democrats trust the media a "Great deal" or a "Fair amount."

Interestingly, Republicans are among the top consumers of the news they distrust:

Despite their record-low trust in media, Republicans are the partisan group most likely to be paying close attention to news about national politics, with the 48% who are doing so similar to the 50% in 2008 and up significantly from 38% in 2004. Independents and Democrats are less likely than Republicans to be paying close attention, with their levels of attention similar to 2008 and 2004.

That finding resonates faintly with some other recent research. A Pew study of how President Obama and Mitt Romney use online media found that Romney's site relied heavily on news accounts from mainstream media sources, while Obama's news was mostly self-generated. And in August, a Daily Kos/SEIU poll found 78 percent of Americans view the political media unfavorably.

Gallup says its poll's findings are "particularly consequential at a time when Americans need to rely on the media to learn about the platforms and perspectives of the two candidates vying to lead the country for the next four years."

But it's also something of a paradox because media is less monolithic than ever before. Is it possible people considering that question disassociate or exempt the media outlets they like (you have to work pretty hard to not find a news organization that skews toward whatever your views are these days) from the ones they distrust?

A Pew survey last month showed how Republicans and Democrats rank the credibility of news sources.

Related: Poll: Partisan gap wider than ever in interpretation of economic news | Democrats, ‘very conservative’ say social networks important for tracking political news

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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