A majority of Americans continue to distrust the media and feel the news media are biased.
This, according to a (not so) shocking new Gallup poll, which found that 55 percent of Americans "have little or no trust" in mass media outlets--newspapers, TV or radio--to report the news fully, accurately or fairly. About 44 percent said they have "a great deal or fair amount of trust" in the media to do so.
The numbers are virtually unchanged from last year's poll, Gallup said. The last time a majority of Americans trusted the news media was in 2003.
A larger majority--60 percent--of the 1,017 adults polled earlier this month continue to perceive the news media as biased: 47 percent think the news media is "too liberal," 13 percent say they are "too conservative." The views of the news media, unsurprisingly, fall along partisan and ideological lines. Lymari Morales writes at Gallup.com:
Seventy-five percent of Republicans and conservatives say the media are too liberal. Democrats and liberals lean more toward saying the media are "just about right," at 57 percent and 42 percent, respectively. Moderates and independents diverge, however, with 50 percent of independents saying the media are too liberal and 50 percent of moderates saying they are just about right.
The Gallup poll results mirror some of the findings in a new report by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press--also released Thursday--which found "record-high negativity toward the media."
"Negative opinions about the performance of news organizations now equal or surpass all-time highs on nine of 12 core measures the Pew Research Center has been tracking since 1985," the report notes. 'However, these bleak findings are put into some perspective by the fact that news organizations are more trusted sources of information than are many other institutions, including government and business."
Interestingly, since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, the proportion of Democrats saying that news stories are often inaccurate has risen sharply, and they are now nearly as critical as Republicans.
From the report:
In 2007, 43 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of independents said stories were often inaccurate. Since then, the percentage of Democrats expressing skepticism about the accuracy of news reports has increased by 21 points to 64 percent, and the percentage of independents saying this has grown by 10 points. Republican views have held fairly steady: 69 percent see stories as often inaccurate, little changed from four years ago (63 percent).
Pew reports that 19 percent of the public cite Fox News as their top source of television news, followed by CNN (15 percent) and local news programming (16 percent)--results that echo a recent survey which found 36 percent of Americans think the News Corp.-owned network is "the best cable news channel on television."