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Americans’ Trust in Media Continues to Slide

October 11, 2021 by Dan McCue
A show taping at CNN Headquarters in Atlanta. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – Americans’ trust in the news media continues to plummet, dropping four percentage points from last year’s already low 36%, a new Gallup poll has found.

The poll, which was released last week also found the media continues to be a decidedly politically polarizing issue in people’s lives with 68% of Democrats saying they trust the media to report news fairly and accurately, while only 11% of Republicans and 31% of Independents feel the same way.

According to Gallup, the 57-point gap between Democrats and Republicans falls within the 54- to 63-point media confidence gap between the two groups since the start of the Trump administration.

All told, only 7% of adults in the U.S. say that they have a great deal of trust and confidence in newspaper and electronic media reporting.

Meanwhile 29% say they have a “fair amount” of trust in the media.

The good news, if there is a silver lining to the poll, is that combined, those two numbers are four points above the 32% record low the media garnered in a 2016 Gallup poll done during the divisive campaign between Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Rounding out the numbers, 29% of Americans answered “not very much” when asked how much they trust the media, while 34% have “none at all.”

Somewhere, the spirit of the one-time “Most Trusted Man in America,” the late newsman Walter Cronkite, weeps.

The findings, from a Sept. 1-17 poll, are the latest in the Gallup organization’s tracking of the public’s confidence in key U.S. institutions, which began in 1972.

Between 1972 and 1976, 68% to 72% of Americans expressed trust in the mass media; yet, by 1997, when the question was next asked, trust had dropped to 53%, Gallup said.

Trust in the media, which has averaged 45% since 1997, has not reached the majority level since 2003, the pollster said.

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

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