June 14, 2016 Last Updated 3:47 pm

Gallup survey confirms Pew findings: Americans have little confidence in the news media

Survey shows confidence in both newspapers and television news dropped ten points, the same as Congress, which remains the least respected institution in the nation

Late last year the PewResearchCenter released a report entitled Beyond Distrust: How Americans View Their Government which showed that everyone in the media should thank the Congress as that institution is the only one thought of with less regard than the media. Yeah Congress!

Now Gallup has followed up with a similar study that shows basically the same thing: the percentage of those surveyed who have confidence in the media is low, very low. According to the Gallup poll only 20 percent said they had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in newspapers, only 21 percent in television news. Both fell ten points since the 2006 survey.

Unlike the Pew study, though, Gallup includes a category called “Big Business” and along with Congress rank at the bottom of the list of those institutions Americans have confidence in.


“Americans clearly lack confidence in the institutions that affect their daily lives: the schools responsible for educating the nation’s children; the houses of worship that are expected to provide spiritual guidance; the banks that are supposed to protect Americans’ earnings; the U.S. Congress elected to represent the nation’s interests; and the news media that claims it exists to keep them informed,” Gallup’s Jim Norman said.

Gallup has conducted this survey since 1993, and while confidence in institutions has fallen, it has not been terribly dramatic. Starting at a level of 38 percent, it rose somewhat during the Bill Clinton years, then peaked at 43 percent early in George Bush’s first term, before falling to 32 percent during the fiscal crisis of 2007-08. It rose again after Barack Obama’s election, then fell again in 2014 – this time to a low of 31 percent. It ticked up to 32 percent in the 2016 survey.

Gallup’s report is not all bad news, however. According to the chart created by the company, Americans have a more positive attitude towards the prospects of finding a job, while their “satisfaction with the US” has remained fairly steady, at least in comparison to their confidence in major institutions.

Comments are closed.