Americans Trust the Main Stream Press No More

Liberals’ and moderates’ views are now similar to conservatives’

By LYMARY MORALES | GALLUP | JULY 11, 2012

Americans’ confidence in television news is at a new low by one percentage point, with 21% of adults expressing a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in it. This marks a decline from 27% last year and from 46% when Gallup started tracking confidence in television news in 1993.

Trend: Americans' Confidence in Television News

The findings are from Gallup’s annual update on confidence in U.S. institutions, conducted June 7-10 this year. As such, the findings preceded the erroneous initial reports by cable-news networks CNN and Fox News regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 28 decision about the constitutionality of the U.S. healthcare law.

Among 16 U.S. institutions tested, television news ranks 11th, following newspapers in 10th place. The 25% of adults who express a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in newspapers is down slightly from 28% last year. Confidence in newspapers is now half of what it was at its peak of 51% in 1979.

Trend: Americans' Confidence in Newspapers

This year’s updates mark a setback from last year for both television news and newspapers, when Americans appeared to be regaining some confidence in these institutions, though they are more in line with 2007-2010 readings.

Liberals’ and Moderates’ Faith Plummets Below Conservatives’

Liberals and moderates lost so much confidence in television news this year — 11 and 10 points, respectively — that their views are now more akin to conservatives’ views. This marks a turnaround from the pattern seen since 2009, in which liberals expressed more confidence than conservatives. Conservatives’ views of television news were last similar to liberals’ in June 2008, before the last presidential election. However, moderates are significantly less confident now than they were then, 20% vs. 28%.

Americans' Confidence in Television News by Ideology, 2003-2012 Trend

The decline since last year in confidence in television news among liberals did not coincide with a similar decline among Democrats. Democrats this year are the most confident in the television news media among key subgroups. Interestingly, postgraduates, who tend to be Democrats, are now the least confident.

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