Who Will Report? Gallup Poll Finds All-Time Low in Public Confidence in TV News

Beware television anchors who bash the House Republicans by citing their low approval rating. On May 20, CBS Face the Nation host expressed amazement that Speaker John Boehner would talk about using the debt ceiling to limit spending again when the approval rating of Congress “hit a new low. And now he wants to fight the same battle? Was he kidding?”

Schieffer and his colleagues will probably ignore the latest finding from Gallup’s Confidence in Institutions Survey: television news has fallen to a 21 percent approval rating, a record low and just eight points higher than Congress. “Organized religion, public schools, Congress, and television news are all currently at least 10 points lower than their historical average ratings.”

The media will also probably ignore what Gallup found most newsworthy: Americans are losing confidence in public schools:

Americans' confidence in public schools is down five percentage points from last year, with 29% expressing "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in them. That establishes a new low in public school confidence from the 33% measured in Gallup's 2007 and 2008 Confidence in Institutions polls. The high was 58% the first time Gallup included public schools, in 1973.

Ironically, the institutions the public is most confident in are often the targets of the low-approval news media:

Once again, Americans are most confident in the military (75%), which has finished first each year since 1989 except 1997, when small business edged it out. Small business, at 63%, is second this year. The police, at 56%, is third, and the only other institution of the 16 tested in which a majority of Americans express confidence.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis