Americans lack confidence in the media
The news media both electronic and print which have been suffering for years from a combination of ad revenue, circulation and ratings declines received some more bad news in the form of survey results from Gallup.
In the annual Gallup Confidence in Institutions survey the public consistently rated their confidence in television news lower than that of newspapers across all age groups from a low of 16% (30-49-yr olds) to 25% (65 plus) compared to newspapers which had similar ratings in all age groups except curiously the 18-29 year-olds who expressed a confidence of 49% in a medium that polls have shown they rarely read.
The ratings have been fairly consistent over the last few years but are down considerably from 1993 when television news reigned supreme over newspapers with a rating of 46% compared to newspapers 31% only to see the broadcast news ratings slip to 22% compared to 25% for newspapers.
As can be expected the ratings though low follow party lines with Republicans rating the press between 16% (tv) to 21% (newspapers) while Democrats give them 31% to 33% confidence ratings respectively. Independents tended to be closer to the GOP position than the liberals.
When broken down by ideology the results were similar with conservatives giving both print and broadcast media 18% ratings while moderates were right in the middle at 25% for both and liberals ranged from 24% for television to 35% for newspapers. I can only surmise that the lower rating for television among liberals has something to do with Fox News since both CNN and MSNBC lean left as do the three major broadcast networks. For newspapers which are almost entirely to the left of center in the U.S. the 35% number among liberals is to be expected but I would have thought it would have been considerably higher.
Interestingly enough the media trails three institutions they regularly bash, the military, small business and organized religion by a fairly wide margin while rating barely ahead of organized labor which they lionize. But at least they do beat one institution soundly- Congress which dropped to a record low 11% confidence rating.
The media has no one to blame but themselves for their miserably low ratings as they have been plagued by plagiarism, fabricated stories and a host of other missteps over the years that has contributed to the public’s erosion of confidence in them.
This would be a good time for a dose of honesty is the best policy to try and regain the public’s trust in a once venerable institution.