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Independents' Trust in Mass Media Reaches All-Time Low

by Alex Gauthier, published
Media Trust by Party credit:

Media Trust by Party

Independent voters have become the fastest growing voting demographic in the US. Thirty-eight percent of voters identify as independents, the highest in more than seventy years. Independents' trust in mass media has reached an all-time low. Gallup announced in a media distrust poll Friday:

"60% they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly."

This represents the highest disparity between positive and negative views of the media since Gallup began regularly collecting data on the subject in 1998. Before 2000, fifty-three percent of Americans reported a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media to honestly report the news; far from the seventy-two percent who trusted the media in 1970's.

"[N]egativity toward the media is at an all-time high for a presidential election year. This reflects the continuation of a pattern in which negativity increases every election year compared with the year prior."

Republicans and independents distrust the media the most; twenty-six percent and thirty-one percent respectively. This is not atypical:

"Independents are sharply more negative compared with 2008, suggesting the group that is most closely divided between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney is quite dissatisfied with its ability to get fair and accurate news coverage of this election."

The study also measured the percentage of voters who follow national politics 'very closely.' This figure is down from the previous election year by about four percent. Most interestingly, independents were the least likely to 'pay close attention' to national politics at thirty-three percent compared to Democrats at thirty-nine percent and Republicans at forty-eight percent.

Figures like these offer the most compelling case for political news platforms like the Independent Voter Network. Polls suggest that voters are dissatisfied with the conventional news media. Independents in particular are feeling the least compelled to consume media they see as unreliable and inaccurate. Perhaps the institutionalized news outlets have lost favor with the majority of Americans as voters search for more trustworthy sources.

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