by WorldTribune Staff, September 18, 2016
Biased and dishonest reporting on the 2016 presidential election have contributed to the American media credibility rating with its audience, which has hit an all-time low, according to a Gallup poll.
Just 32 percent of Americans say they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media, down eight points from last year.
“The divisive presidential election this year may be corroding Americans’ trust and confidence in the media, particularly among Republicans who may believe the ‘mainstream media’ are too hyperfocused on every controversial statement or policy proposal from Donald Trump while devoting far less attention to controversies surrounding the Clinton campaign,” Gallup said in a report on Sept. 14.
“However, the slide in media trust has been happening for the past 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.”
Gallup also pointed to the lower standards for journalism with “the prevalence of blogs, vlogs and social media.”
“Americans may be wary of placing trust on the work of media institutions that have less rigorous reporting criteria than in the past.”
Gallup began polling Americans’ trust in the media in 1972.
“Over the history of the entire trend, Americans’ trust and confidence hit its highest point in 1976, at 72 percent, in the wake of widely lauded examples of investigative journalism regarding Vietnam and the Watergate scandal,” Gallup said.
But “after staying in the low to mid-50s through the late 1990s and into the early years of the new century, Americans’ trust in the media has fallen slowly and steadily. It has consistently been below a majority level since 2007.”
The number of Republicans who say they have trust in the media has nosedived – from 32 percent a year ago to just 14 percent this year. The huge drop, Gallup says, is due to Trump supporters seeing the major media as favoring Clinton while looking for any chance to demonize the GOP candidate.
Democrats may also see it that way – and largely aren’t complaining. The poll found 51 percent of Democrats trust the media, compared with 55 percent last year.
Gallup also noted that “older Americans are more likely than younger Americans to say they trust the media, but trust has declined among both age groups this year. Currently, 26 percent of those aged 18 to 49 (down from 36 percent last year) and 38 percent of those aged 50 and older (down from 45 percent) say they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media.