June 19, 2014


Just 18 percent of Americans have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the TV news media, while newspapers perform a little better at 22 percent, according to the latest Gallup poll.

U.S. adults are no more or less confident in the Internet: only 19 percent indicated “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in Web news. That’s more or less the same as in 1999, the only other time Gallup measured confidence in Internet news. But back then, TV and newspapers were hovering in the mid-30s, so the gap between confidence in traditional news sources and the Web has narrowed.


Overall, Andrew Dugan reports at Gallup, “confidence in newspapers has declined by more than half since its 1979 peak of 51%, while TV news has seen confidence ebb from its high of 46% in 1993, the first year that Gallup asked this question.” The three news sources Gallup asked about “ranked in the bottom third of 17 different U.S. institutions measured in the poll.”

Conservatives (15 percent) have much less confidence in newspapers than liberals do (34 percent). But “conservatives are slightly more likely to express confidence in TV news (19%) than liberals (15%).”

At least the media isn’t the least trusted institution in America: It still inspires way more confidence than Congress. Just 7 percent of Americans have confidence in Congress — the lowest confidence rating of any institution Gallup has ever measured. Confidence in the military is at 74 percent.

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Sam Kirkland is Poynter's digital media fellow, focusing on mobile and social media trends. Previously, he worked at the Chicago Sun-Times as a digital editor,…
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