Gallup: Distrust in Media Hits New High and Three Times as Many See Media as ‘Too Liberal’ Over ‘Too Conservative’

“For the fourth straight year, the majority of Americans say they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly,” Gallup reported Wednesday in recounting the findings of its latest annual survey on views of the news media. Gallup’s post, “Distrust in U.S. Media Edges Up to Record High: Perceptions of liberal bias still far outnumber perceptions of conservative bias,” noted “the 57 percent who now say this is a record high by one percentage point,” while the 43 percent who “express a great deal or fair amount of trust ties the record low” – although within the four-point margin of error.

Gallup also again confirmed that three times as many recognize a liberal bias than perceive a conservative tilt:

Nearly half of Americans (48%) say the media are too liberal, tying the high end of the narrow 44 percent to 48 percent range recorded over the past decade. One-third say the media are just about right while 15 percent say they are too conservative.

Most telling: While Republicans have the least trust in the news media and are the most-likely too consider the media “too liberal,” independents are much closer to Republicans than Democrats: 61 percent of independents don’t trust the media and 45 percent call the media too liberal” compared to just 15 percent who say the media are “too conservative.” [Jpg of a table showing the rundown by party and ideology.]

Summarizing Gallup’s findings on Special Report, FNC’s Bret Baier led the September 29 “Grapevine” segment:

If you have serious doubts about the news media, you have plenty of company. A new poll finds a record high level of distrust. Gallup says 57 percent of participants do not trust the media to accurately and fairly report the news. The percentage has been steadily climbing since the mid-1990s, when distrust hung at about 45 percent. 48 percent of those polled say the media slants “too liberal,” while only 15 percent find it “too conservative.” 33 percent believe it's “just about right.”

Gallup’s survey arrived two weeks after the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press released a poll which determined: “No more than a third says they can believe all or most of the reporting by 14 major news organizations.” On bias, Pew learned:

About eight-in-ten Americans (82%) say they see at least some bias in news coverage – 52 percent say they see a lot and 30 percent say they see some. By a wide margin, those who see bias in news coverage say it is a liberal bias; 43 percent of the public says there is more of a liberal bias while just 23 percent see more of a conservative bias....

Independents largely mirror the public as a whole: 53 percent see a lot of bias and 30 percent see some. Fully 44 percent say that bias tilts liberal, while 21 percent say it tilts conservative.

For more on Pew’s exhaustive survey, see Noel Sheppard’s September 13 NewsBusters post: “Obama Gets Highest Ratings from Followers of Olbermann, Maddow and NYT.”

For much more on how the public assesses the media, check out the MRC’s “Media Bias 101: What Journalists Really Think -- and What the Public Thinks About the Media.”

It features a rundown of “Gallup Polls on Media Bias” within the “How the Public Views the Media” section.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center