Confidence in TV News at New Low

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Americans’ confidence in television news has fallen to a new low. According to a newly-published Gallup survey, just 21% of adults state that they have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in television news. That is down from 46% when the polling organization first began asking respondents their views on TV news back in 1993.

It is worth noting that this survey was conducted between June 7 and June 10, and thus captured a snapshot of the nation’s attitude toward this particular industry just two weeks before a number of “news” outlets, such as CNN and Fox, made national embarrassments of themselves by falsely reporting that the Supreme Court had struck down the Affordable Care Act because their staff had not read beyond the opening pages of the court’s decision.

Discontent with the state of television news was on full display outside CNN offices in cities around the country this past week, when supporters of Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson took to the streets to protest the media blackout of the former New Mexico governor’s candidacy, as Craig D. Schlesinger reported here at IVN yesterday. Chris Hill, a Johnson campaign advisor, told Schlesinger that it is a matter of integrity:

“If the media has no integrity and won’t allow Americans to even get to know their third choice, then we’re all being robbed. It’s not that we need the media to do something for Gov. Johnson, we just need them to do their job and show a little journalistic integrity instead of being completely biased. It is completely unacceptable,” said Hill.

The newspaper industry did not fare much better in Gallup’s poll. Just 25% of those surveyed stated that they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in newspapers. That is down from a high of 51% in 1979.

The drop in confidence appears to be directly tied to the changing views of moderates and liberals. For some time, conservatives and Republicans have been among the most skeptical consumers of television and print journalism, led, ironically, by the likes of media personalities such as Rush Limbaugh. But that is no longer the case. Confidence in television news has dropped ten points among moderates and liberals over the course of the last year. Liberals now have the least confidence in television news, with 19% stating that they have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the industry. They are followed closely by moderates, just 20% of whom say the same. Among conservatives, 22% say they trust television news.

Given media bias in favor of viewpoints forwarded by representatives of the Republican and Democratic parties, it is no surprise that Independents are among the most skeptical consumers of news media. Just 17% of Independents said they have quite a lot or a great deal of confidence in television news, rivaling the dim views of Republicans, 17% of whom said the same. Democrats are most confident in television news, with 34% stating they have a great deal of confidence in the 20th century media form.

Independents are also most likely to distrust newspapers as well. Just 20% of Independents said they have a great deal of confidence in newspapers, compared with 22% of Republicans and 37% of Democrats.

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41 comments
John Wilder
John Wilder

I trust PBS NEWS HOUR and many of the BLOOMBERG cable network news shows, including the CHARLIE ROSE interview show. I note lately that network news (CBS, NBC, and ABC) appear to be improving.

I look for in-depth reporting with a variety of viewpoints, for perspective. I look for a sense of respectful "loyal opposition" rather than bomb throwing of one side against the other.

For news, I distrust, in general, MSNBC and FOX, as they are often dripping with bias. I will watch them, now and then, when I want a left-wing or right-wing view of an issue, being aware of the strong bias.

Che Harness
Che Harness

A variety of places. You can watch TV "news", but like every other source of information you have to realize that it's much more opinion than truth. I've caught all of them lying, they are not trustworthy.

Ricky Gandhi
Ricky Gandhi

CNN. i'll look at MSNBC or FOX if i want a partisan analysis of speeches and junk. otherwise CNN + online news sources/articles/journals

Shaari Rogacs
Shaari Rogacs

Local news. Don't know where they get theirs but someone tell me what is available in the LA area that is not slanted.

Marc Sokol
Marc Sokol

PBS Newshour. The only objective one-hour news program in the U.S.

Ted Edwards
Ted Edwards

Well Daaa what do those people expect they have a lopsided view of everything they won't report on information like fast and furious, the international trade agreement etc becouse it doesn't fit there agenda. We have access to information exposing there sins thank God otherwise everyone of us would think everything is just Rosie

Donny Zaltzberg
Donny Zaltzberg

if its mainstream its lies they are all corrupt if you still have trust in fox cnn msnbc etc etc you are an idiot sorry to say

Daniel Orbanus
Daniel Orbanus

If you want to know whats going on here--watch the BBC or the mind channel--news from the globe ..amazing what they say about us!!!!

Antonio L Merrick
Antonio L Merrick

CNN 70%, FOX 10%, MSNBC10%, Al Jazeera English 5% and BBC 5%

Aidan King
Aidan King

I'll sometimes watch some of all of those listed networks, but yeah they all have great biases so I typically read media that just conveys the facts.

Grady Bautista
Grady Bautista

No TV news for me at all: NPR, NYtimes, the economist, huffpost, the arizona daily star, BBC radio

Gary McCorvey
Gary McCorvey

There is no such thing as "news"__it's all either entertainment or selling a position. I don't watch television "news" shows or read newspapers. I use the internet.

user5461
user5461

If you want the news, watch Link TV, or visit them online. For the best U.S. news, try Democracy NOW!

Amos Cooper
Amos Cooper

TV news is slowly becoming entertainment. It seems like most of it made to boost ratings instead of to inform.

Dan Richards
Dan Richards

I have been seeing where the News media has for years been pushing themselves right out of business. So far it seems mostly the Progressives and Liberals rely on the news industry the most, as from what I have seen, and this report to a large degree supports, the independents and conservatives are backing away from it. The thing is, many of the Conservatives are going to places almost as bad as the News industry, the shoddy side of "Religious disinformation", the scam artists of this area.

It is getting tough to make informed choices, as so many resources are feeding so much crap into the mix, we are having to separate the fact from the fiction...

Brad R. Schlesinger
Brad R. Schlesinger

This is a good thing. The more people who do not watch cable news the better.

Faith Eischen
Faith Eischen

Interesting stats right? Wrote an article about the emergence of YouTube as a new news source that people are opting to watch as an alternative to the traditional news forums.

Craig D. Schlesinger
Craig D. Schlesinger

Great stuff Damon, and thanks for the shout out and pingback! In my experience talking with people, the most uninformed are watchers of Cable News. And they actually think they ARE informed because they pay attention. Then I point out they're paying attention to a narrative scripted by the political establishment and handed off to their mouthpieces in the media. We need to dispell the notion of the media having a liberal bias - the media is not liberal, they are STATIST. In other words, they love sucking up to the people in power, regardless of partisanship. The media questioning the state is a thing of the past.

Lauren Moore
Lauren Moore

Absolutely. Fox, MSNBC, they just cater to one party and chose the most ridiculous things to report on.

d.eris
d.eris

Indeed, I pretty much stopped watching tv news altogether a few years ago. I've read that it remains quite popular among Beltway types and journalists, which it itself is quite a sad commentary. For me the real question is: who has time to sit through a tv news program? It seems like there's at least a minute of commercials for every two minutes of a broadcast, so if you sit in front of the tv for an hour, you only watched 40 minutes of programming. It's much more efficient to just browse the news online, and you are likely better informed for it.

d.eris
d.eris

I think there have been some studies test people's basic level of knowledge regarding current events, while correlating with their media/news consumption habits. If I remember correctly, I think it's been found that your experience/hunch is correct that cable news viewers tend to be less well informed than others.