That is down from 11 percent a year ago and is a record low for the 40 years that Gallup has been polling on the question.
Since 1972, Gallup has periodically asked respondents: “In general, how much trust and confidence do you have in the mass media–such as newspapers, T.V. and radio–when it comes to reporting the news fully, accurately, and fairly–a great deal, a fair amount, not very much, or none at all?
In the latest survey, conducted Sept. 6-9, in addition to the 8 percent who said they had a “great deal” of trust and confidence in the media another 32 percent said they had a “fair amount” of trust. This combined 40 percent who were generally trustful of the media was also the lowest percentage ever.
A year ago, in Sept. 2011, 11 percent told Gallup they had a “great deal” of trust and confidence in the media and 33 percent said they had a fair amount–for a combined 44 percent who generally trusted the media.
Meanwhile, in the poll released today, 39 percent said they had “not very much” trust and confidence in the media and 21 percent said they had “none at all”–making a combined all-time high of 60 percent who who were generally distrustful of the media.
That was up from a combined 55 percent (36 percent “not very much” and 19 percent “none at all”) in the Gallup survey done a year ago.
“The majority of Americans still do not have confidence in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately and fairly,” Gallup concluded in its analysis of the new poll.
Back in 1972, 18 percent said they had a great deal of trust and confidence in the media and 50 percent said they had a fair amount—for a combined 68 percent who were generally trustful of the media.
The combined percentage of Americans who said they had a great deal (18 percent) or a fair amount (54 percent) of trust and confidence in the media peaked at 72 percent in 1976.
“The record distrust in the media, based on a survey conducted Sept. 6-9, 2012, also means that negativity toward the media is at an all-time high for a presidential election year,” Gallup said in its analysis of the poll.
Trust and confidence in the media differs by party affiliation, according to Gallup.
While a combined 60 percent of Americans overall told Gallup in this latest survey that they either had not very much or no trust at all in the media, a combined 58 percent of Democrats said that they had either a great deal or a fair amount of trust in the media.
Only 31 percent of Independents and 26 percent of Republicans said they had a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media.
Gallup had previously reported that a survey conducted Sept. 8-11, 2011, showed that 47 percent said the media were too liberal, while 36 percent said the media was just right, and 13 percent said the media were too conservative. In that survey, 75 percent of conservatives said the media were too liberal.
And so, too, did 16 percent of liberals.