Gallup: Americans’ distrust of the media hits a new high

posted at 11:21 am on September 21, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

Whaaaaat? The American public is growing increasingly suspicious that they’re being fed a steady stream of waffle by a media establishment that does everything within its power to not only play up Romney’s “gaffes,” but to tell us in advance exactly how we should feel about them and to steamroll over President Obama’s failures, all while more or less glossing over the disastrous goings-on of the world at large? What is the world coming to! From Gallup:

Americans’ distrust in the media hit a new high this year, with 60% saying they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. Distrust is up from the past few years, when Americans were already more negative about the media than they had been in years prior to 2004. …

This year’s decline in media trust is driven by independents and Republicans. The 31% and 26%, respectively, who express a great deal or fair amount of trust are record lows and are down significantly from last year. Republicans’ level of trust this year is similar to what they expressed in the fall of 2008, implying that they are especially critical of election coverage.

Trend since 1997: In general, how much trust and confidence do you have in the mass media -- such as newspapers, TV, 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?

Not surprisingly, when broken down by party, Democrats place the greatest trust in the mainstream media with 58 percent feeling a-okay with their news coverage, but only 26 percent of Republicans do. What is interesting, though, is that after independents’ trust in the media fell below the 50-percent mark in 2004, it’s only continued on a downward trajectory, and only 31 of independents today are feeling good about about the media painting a fair, accurate, and complete picture of the current political scene.

What has me really raising my eyebrow (the left one, to be specific), however, is how people replied to the question of whether or not they’re paying particularly close to this presidential-election news cycle.

Trend: Attention to National Political News -- by Party

48 percent of Republicans are following presidential politics closely, but only 39 percent of Democrats are. So, in conjunction with yesterday’s study suggesting that only 15 percent of Democrats believe that recent economic news is mostly poor, and if Democrats are really leading Republicans in the enthusiasm contest… Help me out here, folks: Are the more committed members of the Democratic faithful just in straight-up denial? Kind of like, oh, maybe a media establishment that skews unabashedly liberal and is hell-bent on constantly jabbing the public with less-than-subtle suggestions that Romney-voters should be discouraged and that President Obama has this in the bag? Is reality no longer of any consequence?


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