US distrust in news media hits fresh high–pollAgence France-Presse
WASHINGTON — Add the news media to the list of institutions that Americans do not trust.
A Gallup poll released Friday showed a record 60 percent of Americans have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly.
The poll showed distrust is up from the past few years, and has been rising since 2004.
The record distrust in the media, based on a survey conducted September 6-9, means that negativity toward the media is at an all-time high for a presidential election year.
The gap between negative and positive views — 20 percentage points — is by far the biggest Gallup has recorded since it began asking the question in the 1990s.
Gallup said trust in the media was much higher, and more positive than negative, in the years prior to 2004, and was as high as 72 percent in the 1970s.
The rise in negative sentiment toward media has been driven by people identifying themselves as Republicans and independents, the poll showed.
The poll showed just 26 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of independents and Republicans expressed confidence in newspapers, radio and television to fairly and accurately report the news.
While the Republican figure is similar to 2008, Gallup said independents are sharply more negative compared with 2008, suggesting the group that is most closely divided between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney is dissatisfied with coverage of this election.
Among Democrats, 58 percent expressed confidence in the media, up slightly from last year.
Gallup said 39 percent of those polled said they are paying close attention to news coverage, up from last year but down from 43 percent in September 2008, ahead of the last presidential election.
Results are based on telephone interviews of 1,017 adults across the United States, with a margin of error of four percentage points.
A Gallup survey last year showed a majority of Americans viewed the media as biased, with 47 percent saying news outlets are too liberal and 13 percent saying they are too conservative.