Americans’ confidence in media, specifically in newspapers and television news, has reached record low numbers, according to a new Gallup poll out Tuesday.
As part of its annual polling of 16 major U.S. institutions, Gallup has tracked the steady decline of confidence in newspapers since 1973 and in television since 1993. In the 2022 poll, conducted June 1-20, only 16 percent of Americans have a “great deal/quite a lot of confidence in newspapers,” and 11 percent have the same degree of confidence in TV news. This leaves 46 percent of Americans with “very little/no” confidence in newspapers and a staggering 53 percent, a majority, with the same degree of confidence in television news.
In an industry that has changed drastically over the past few decades thanks to the internet, the two media sources rank almost at the bottom in terms of confidence ratings among U.S. institutions. In fact, confidence in the news has never been lower, with both newspaper and TV news ratings dropping 5 percentage points since 2021. Congress ranks last, with only 7 percent confidence, and small businesses rank first with 68 percent.
At 35 percent, Democrats have higher confidence in newspapers than do Republicans (5 percent) and independents (12 percent), but it has fallen during the Biden administration. During the Trump years, Democrats ranged from 42-46 percent confident in newspapers.
A similar trend occurred among Democrats, Republicans, and independents in their attitudes toward television news, with Democrats being 20 percent confident compared to Republicans’ 8 percent and independents’ 8 percent.
This is not the only poll that has recorded Americans’ increasing distrust of the media. Other Gallup surveys — about whether Americans trust that the media will report the news “fully, accurately, and fairly,” and whether they believe reporters are ethical — both reveal very little trust.