Trust The News? Depends on Your Party Affiliation

Author: Jeff Powers
Created: 28 August, 2017
Updated: 21 November, 2022
2 min read

If you're looking for reasons as to how and why the country is so divided, and who is responsible for that division, look no further than the latest Gallup poll.

In a survey of 1,810 US adults, respondents were asked if they believed the news media reported accurate information:

The poll finds just 14% of Republicans think the facts presented in the news are accurate. By contrast, it found that 62% of Democrats hold this opinion of news organizations.

According to Gallup, when they first asked this question in 1998, over half of both Republicans (52%) and Democrats (53%) believed news organizations generally got the facts straight.

Two years before that poll, in 1996, opinion journalism hit the mainstream.

Fox News and MSNBC hadn't taken hold yet, but each was created to tailor to the two-party system -- MSNBC for Democrats; Fox News for Republicans.

And as each network began to take off in 2002, the first year Fox News beat CNN in ratings, the lines of division became greater and greater.

Twitter, Another Tool for Dividing the Country

When not broadcasting to their faithful, Twitter is used as a political weapon in the never-ending battle for supremacy between the left and right.

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As evidenced by the Charlottesville violence, the folks at MSNBC and Fox News used the sad moment to radicalize their bases even further.



College Educated See News as More Accurate

Independents are typically the best indicator of where the country stands politically, as they aren't typically influenced with a party's rhetoric.

And in this poll, 43% of independents with college degrees trust the accuracy of news reports in the media.

Interestingly, whether they are high school or college educated, Republican distrust of the media is rampant. Just 18% of college educated Republicans trust the media, compared with 72% of Democrats.

The results confirm the polling, that more than 90% of the mainstream media's coverage of the current administration is negative, and further cements the notion that several media outlets work for the left-leaning interests of the country.

The numbers could also be impacted by the president's persistence in labeling news organizations as fake news.

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What to Make of These Numbers

The integrity of news organizations has come under enormous scrutiny and that brings consequences.

As Gallup noted in its findings:

"A solid majority of the country believes major news organizations routinely produce false information is one with potentially significant consequences. As one example, these views may be related to Americans' diminished trust in most major U.S. institutions and rising cynicism about the U.S. political system and elected officials."

It also perhaps explains why it takes a catastrophic storm, where the media focuses on unity and not division, as to why we feel reunited for as long as the event is occurring.

Photo Credit: Leonard Zhukovsky / shutterstock.com

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