The U.S. now exhibits the highest rate of media distrust of any country in the world, according to a recent Reuters Institute survey.
Reuters’ global report, which analyzed news consumption habits around the world as well as the public’s sentiment toward media and the press, found that only 26 percent of U.S. residents said they trust the news most of the time, the lowest among the 46 countries analyzed in the Reuters report.
Americans’ trust in the news has fallen three percentage points in the last year, according to the report. While the Reuters survey noted that trust in the news has fallen in about half the countries analyzed, the international average of people who say they trust most news most of the time is 42 percent or about four in ten.
Among U.S. respondents who identified as right-leaning, only 14 percent said they trust the news, down nearly 10 points (25 percent) from 2015. By contrast, 39 percent of those claiming to be left-leaning trust most news most of the time, which actually reveals a four-percent uptick in trust from the 35 percent reported in 2015.
As a result, less than half of Americans (47 percent) today claim they’re generally interested in consuming the news, compared to 67 percent in 2015. A similar number (42 percent) of U.S. respondents said they now avoid the new entirely, up from 41 percent in 2019 and 38 percent in 2017. The percentage of U.S. residents who said they consumed no news at all in the last week has skyrocketed this year, at 15 percent, compared to only 3 percent in 2013.
|Reasons why Americans are avoiding the news (right-leaning vs. left-leaning).|
Americans’ reasons for disconnecting from the news generally depend on their political leanings. Those who identify on the right are more likely to avoid the news because they think it’s untrustworthy or biased (65 percent, compared to 20 percent of those on the left). Left-leaning Americans, on the other hand, are more likely to avoid the news because it brings down their mood (57 percent, compared to 54 percent of those on the right). An additional 49 percent of right-leaning respondents said they think the news is too heavy on COVID-19 and politics, compared to only 23 percent on the left.
Only 19 percent of U.S. residents said they currently pay for news content via online subscriptions. This is actually slightly higher than the international average, 17 percent.
Internationally, the Reuters report found that the number of news consumers who now claim they avoid the news has increased sharply. Brazil currently tops the list of countries for news avoidance, at 54 percent, followed by the UK (46 percent). By contrast, Finland boasts the highest level of trust in the news (69 percent).
Reuters Institute’s “Digital News Report 2022,” which was commissioned by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, was based on a YouGov survey of more than 93,000 online news consumers—including 2,036 U.S. residents—in 46 countries. Surveys were conducted in January and February.