A new poll by Gallup released on Wednesday shows that the American public’s trust and confidence in the media has fallen to the lowest point in the poll’s 44-year history.
Thirty-two percent of respondents in the Gallup poll said they have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in the mass media, a drop of eight percentage points from 2015.
Trust in the media has been steadily dropping over the last decade, and last reached 50% in 2005.
Trust in the media among Democrats slipped slightly from 55% to 51%, and among Libertarians 33% to 30%. But it plummeted among Republicans from 32% to 14%, and is “easily the lowest confidence” they have had in 20 years according to Gallup.
That drop can probably be attributed to the media’s coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign, which has been typically anti-Republican.
Older Americans are more trusting of the media than younger Americans, but the level of trust has declined among both age groups. In the 18 to 49 age group, 26% (down from 36%) say they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media, and in the 50-plus age group 38% (down from 45%) feel the same. It’s the first time in 15 years that confidence in the media among older Americans has dropped below 40%.
Gallup attributes the drop in trust and confidence in the media to “the divisive presidential election” in which both Clinton and Trump have criticized the media for being biased, though there has been steady erosion in confidence taking place for more than a decade:
“Before 2004, it was common for a majority of Americans to profess at least some trust in the mass media, but since then, less than half of Americans feel that way. Now, only about a third of the U.S. has any trust in the Fourth Estate, a stunning development for an institution designed to inform the public.”
That was before the explosion of blogs, alternative websites and social media, which have exposed the mainstream media’s liberal agenda and made the public more aware of their bias.