One of Gallup’s most famous polls shows the media must drop their liberal bias, or face extinction
The nation’s most famous pollster has asked Americans the same question every year since 1972.
But the media isn’t going to like what Gallup found this year.
America’s distrust of the media has hit record highs – fueled by their openly biased coverage of the presidential race.
Only 32 percent of Americans have a “great deal or fair amount” of trust in the national media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly.”
That’s the lowest share ever recorded, and eight percentage points less than recorded last year.
“Gallup began asking this question in 1972, and on a yearly basis since 1997. Over the history of the entire trend, Americans’ trust and confidence hit its highest point in 1976, at 72%, in the wake of widely lauded examples of investigative journalism regarding Vietnam and the Watergate scandal,” Gallup analyst Art Swift writes.
“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,” Swift writes.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the sharpest drop in trust of the media has followed the explosion of the Internet’s alternative news sources available to the public, allowing Americans to see stories outside of the mainstream media filter.
Gallup suggests the sharp drop in trust is driven by the media’s coverage of the 2016 presidential race.
“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,” writes Swift.
“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,” Swift notes.
But Republicans aren’t alone in their distrust of the media.
Only 30 percent of self-identified political independents report at least some trust in the media.
Even among Democrats, the beneficiaries of media bias, only 51 percent believe the media is generally fair.
The future looks grim for the media.
When split by age, 38 percent of Americans over 50 years old trust the media.
Among those younger than 50, only 26 percent trust the media.
This has the media at a crossroads.
For decades they have been able to get away with media bias because Americans had no alternative. There were only three broadcast TV networks, and most Americans got their news from newspaper services by three liberally-biased wire services.
But the Internet has spawned citizen journalists who can get stories out directly to the public, such as when an attempt by CBS News to smear George W. Bush in 2000 was exposed as a hoax.
The 2016 election could have been the mainstream media’s best opportunity to regain the trust of the public, but their attacks on Donald Trump – while covering up criminal activity by Hillary Clinton – has created a backlash that has driven distrust to record highs.
With three presidential debates coming in the final 50 days of the election, the media can either hold Hillary accountable, or drive themselves out of business.