While the upcoming presidential election has increased interest in news about national politics, the results of a Gallup poll released Friday suggest that a record number of Americans do not trust the information being provided to them by mass media.
The poll found that 60 percent of Americans have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly. The figure is up from 55 percent in 2011 and represents an all-time high.
With just 40 percent saying they do trust the media, the 20 percentage point gap between negative and positive views is by far the highest since Gallup began regularly asking the question in the 1990s.
Gallup noted that trust in the media was much higher in the years prior to 2004, reaching a high of 72 percent in the 1970s.
The drop in trust in the media was driven by independents and Republicans, as just 31 percent of independents and 26 percent of Republicans expressed a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media.
Meanwhile, Democrats continue to have a relatively high level of trust in the media at 58 percent, up from 56 percent a year ago.
The poll also found that 39 percent of Americans are paying close attention to news about national politics, up from 35 percent in 2011 but down from 43 percent in 2008.
Gallup.com's managing news editor Lymari Morales said, "On a broad level, Americans' high level of distrust in the media poses a challenge to democracy and to creating a fully engaged citizenry."
"Media sources must clearly do more to earn the trust of Americans, the majority of whom see the media as biased one way or the other," she added. "At the same time, there is an opportunity for others outside the 'mass media' to serve as information sources that Americans do trust."
The Gallup survey of 1,017 adults was conducted September 6th through 9th and has margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
by RTT Staff Writer
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