It’s no surprise that Americans have longstanding trust issues with the U.S. news media industry. Ever since the 2016 election, poll after poll shows that Americans’ faith in newspapers, TV and radio stations to deliver the facts has fallen sharply.
And now? According to a new survey by opinion poll giant Gallup, Americans’ confidence in the media to report the news fairly and accurately is at its lowest point on record.
The annual survey, which examines Americans’ trust in news media as well as their current attitudes toward the press, found that only 32 percent of U.S. adults said they have a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in the news media’s reporting, illustrating a clear downward trend from 2022’s 34 percent and 2021’s 36 percent, according to previous Gallup reports.
Worse, the share of Americans who claim they have no confidence in the news now surpasses the dwindling share of those who say they trust America’s mass media institutions: 39 percent said they have absolutely no confidence at all in the media’s ability to report the news in an accurate and fair way. This marks the highest lack of media confidence on record and beats the previous all-time high of 27 percent recorded in 2016.
An additional 29 percent of U.S. adults said they possess “not very much” trust in the news media industry. Only seven percent of those surveyed said they trust the media a “great deal.”
As if the news couldn’t get any worse, Americans’ widespread distrust of the media now appears to be spilling across political lines as well. While Americans who identify as Republican have historically exhibited less trust in the press than those of other political parties, the Gallup poll found that even among those identifying as Democrats—a demographic that has long served as a bulwark of media support—an unfavorable view of the press is gaining ground.
Democrats’ trust in the news media fell significantly this year: 58 percent of Democrats said they have a “great deal” or “fair amount” of confidence in the media. This marks the lowest number since 2016 (51 percent) and also reveals a 12-point slip in trust among this demographic since last year (70 percent).
Republicans, on the other hand, continue to harbor a notably unfavorable view of the press: 58 percent of those identifying as Republican said they have no trust at all in the media, and only 11 percent of Republicans said they have a “great deal” or “fair amount” of confidence in the media.
The partisan gap between Democrats who trust the media and Republicans who distrust the media now stands at 47 points, the narrowest since 2016.
A Reuters Institute survey last year found that the U.S. now exhibits the highest rate of media distrust of any country in the world.
Gallup’s report was based on a survey of 1,016 adults aged 18 and older living in the U.S. The sample for the study was supplied by marketing data and analytics company Dynata. The survey was conducted in September.