Report: America’s Faith in Media at All-time Low

TV news has never been less trustworthy, according to Gallup poll

Decades ago, when Americans sought reliable news coverage, they turned to a few reputable sources, such as Walter Cronkite, Harry Reasoner and Tom Brokaw. These days, the advent of cable television has led to a growing number of news stations, with many angled toward specific interests. If you want to know what’s going on in the world, you’ll have little trouble finding a live news broadcast detailing even the most minor happening. Unfortunately, although news broadcasts have never been more salient, according to a recent poll, they’ve also never been less trustworthy.

Confidence Dwindling

According to a recent Gallup poll, Americans have never been less confident in television news. In its annual survey, Gallup found that only 21 percent of adults expressed quite a lot or a great deal of confidence in TV news broadcasts. This marks a steep decline from last year’s figures which found that 27 percent of participants felt the same way. What’s more, the most recent results are 25 percent lower than what Gallup reported when it began polling in 1993, when nearly half of all Americans expressed good to great confidence in TV news.

Slanted Views

Although Gallup couldn’t say for sure why America’s faith in the media appears to be on an annual decline, it did suggest that the trajectory of approval appears to coincide with the overall trajectory of national confidence in other U.S. institutions and the government in general.

That said, many respondents blamed what they saw as bias reporting. According to Marnie Collins, of Spokane, Washington, the media in general appears to be more polarized than in years past.

“When you’re listening to any sort of news radio or news television, everyone who speaks on their topic seems so one-sided,” she said. “In their eyes, it seems that anyone who thinks differently is wrong, and sometimes that gets annoying.”

Less Reliable

These days, major media outlets are owned by profit-oriented corporations. Often, this not only leads to biased coverage; it creates a hyper-competitive atmosphere that can lead to mistakes.  Recently, in an attempt to be the first to report on the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Obama’s health care law, CNN and Fox News inaccurately reported that the law had been struck down, when, in fact, it had been upheld.

Interestingly, Gallup conducted its poll before these mishaps; a fact which suggests that Americans may trust the media even less than when the poll results were released a few months ago.