Americans’ confidence in television news has hit an all-time low, according to a new survey by Gallup.
Twenty-one percent of the 1,004 adults polled said they had “a great deal” or “a lot” of confidence in television news media, continuing a steady decline from the 46 percent who expressed confidence in television media in 1993.
Meanwhile, just 25 percent of those polled expressed confidence in newspapers, the second-lowest rating since 1973 and less than half of the 51-percent peak in 1979.
Of 16 U.S. institutions tested — including the police, the church, the Supreme Court, banks, and big business — newspapers ranked tenth, television news eleventh. (The military is the most trusted institution, with a 75 percent confidence rating; Congress is the least trusted institution, with a 13 percent confidence rating).
“It is not clear precisely why Americans soured so much on television news this year compared with last,” when confidence was at 27 percent, the authors at Gallup wrote. “Americans’ negativity likely reflects the continuation of a broader trend that appeared to enjoy only a brief respite last year. Americans have grown more negative about the media in recent years, as they have about many other U.S. institutions and the direction of the country in general.”
Confidence in television news also declined across the ideological spectrum, though the decline in confidence among liberals and moderates was far more severe, putting their outlook below that of conservatives for the first time since 2007. Nineteen percent of liberals expressed confidence in television media, versus 20 percent of moderates and 22 percent of conservatives.
Gallup also cited the blunders at CNN and Fox News during the Supreme Court healthcare ruling as a sign that “confidence in television news could plummet further.”