Only 16% of US residents trust their country’s newspapers “a great deal” or “quite a lot” and just 11% share that view of television news. These results from Gallup’s traditional annual survey set the poll’s new record low for both categories, down five points from 2021. This is the worst figure in almost 50 years in the case of newspapers and in almost 30 years for television news.
The drop had already been marked in recent times, and in any case neither newspapers nor television news have ever enjoyed excessive trust from US citizens: the former have only once obtained the unequivocal support of the majority, in 1979 and by 51%, well above the historical average of 30%, which the figure for 2022 does not even come close to; and the latter started from 46% in the initial survey in which Americans were able to rate their relationship with them and have subsequently fallen to an average of 27%, also very high compared to this year’s figure. In fact, for the second year in a row, US citizens overwhelmingly show little or no trust in those who tell them the news on television.
The 2022 data is far from historical averages and in the case of television news shows for the second year in a row a majority distrust.
Political orientation is key in the detail of these results, with Democrats showing the greatest trust in newspapers, up to 35%, while independents and Republicans pull down the average with 12% and 5%, respectively. The differences are smaller in the case of television news, with 20% of Democrats saying they trust them “a great deal” or “quite a lot” and 8% of independents and Republicans sharing their opinion.
Gallup has been asking Americans about trust in newspapers since 1973 and in 1993 added a similar question about television news, all as part of an annual survey of citizens’ perceptions of the nation’s major institutions. The latest edition of this survey was conducted between 1 and 20 June, and its results show a general decline in confidence in almost all of the options presented, to the point where it marks a new all-time low.
Only 27% have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of confidence in the 14 institutions usually asked about, and the US Presidency comes out particularly badly on this list, with a drop of 15 points in one year, as well as the Supreme Court, with an 11-point decline over the same period. Since 2004, the high credibility of all of them has been below 40% of the population, but to date it has never fallen below 30%.