When the Gallup Poll randomly surveyed more than 1,000 adults across the U.S. and asked about their confidence and trust in the mass media, they found that public trust in the media has dropped to its lowest point in the history of this survey.
Only 32 percent of survey respondents have a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust, and among Republicans, that decline fell even farther, to only 14 percent.
One possible translation: Conservatives believe the media is in the bag for liberal causes and issues, and definitely is rooting – and perhaps covering – for Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. But Gallup didn’t exactly say that.
What Gallup did say was this:
“While it is clear Americans’ trust in the media has been eroding over time, the election campaign may be the reason that it has fallen so sharply this year. With many Republican leaders and conservative pundits saying Hillary Clinton has received overly positive media attention, while Donald Trump has been receiving unfair or negative attention, this may be the prime reason their relatively low trust in the media has evaporated even more. It is also possible that Republicans think less of the media as a result of Trump’s sharp criticisms of the press. Republicans who say they have trust in the media has plummeted to 14% from 32% a year ago. This is easily the lowest confidence among Republicans in 20 years.”
When the Washington Times reported the Gallup results, reader comments quickly stacked up by the hundreds. Most if not all of those comments were criticisms of the press, and some were rather harsh. One reader suggested the lack of trust is because “they lie, lie, lie!” Another reader commented, “90% of the media are scum who lie and vote dumbocrat 100% of the time.”
The survey was taken Sept. 7-11 with a random sampling of 1,020 adults covering all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It has a sampling margin of error of plus/minus four percentage points.
The Gallup poll also revealed:
“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% of those aged 18 to 49 (down from 36% last year) and 38% of those aged 50 and older (down from 45%) say they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media.”
The bottom line, according to Gallup, is that, “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 Trump while devoting far less attention to controversies surrounding the Clinton campaign. 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.”
No small degree of distrust can be found among American gun owners. Second Amendment activists routinely complain that the press uses the First Amendment to erode the Second. By supporting gun bans and other restrictions, “mainstream” press editorial boards have created the impression that they would rather see the right to keep and bear arms become a heavily regulated privilege.