Trust in Mainstream Media Dips to Record Low: Here’s Why

A Gallup poll shows trust in mainstream media fell to a record low 32%. Trust has been on the decline since 1972.
On November 30, Armstrong Economics reported Gallup Poll: Trust in Mainstream Media Falls to 32%.

by Mish |

Armstrong posted a chart of the decline. Armstrong did not link back to the Gallup article, one of my pet peeves.

A search led me to this September 14 report: Gallup poll Americans’ Trust in Mass Media Sinks to New Low.

Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly” has dropped to its lowest level in Gallup polling history, with 32% saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. This is down eight percentage points from last year.

Gallup began asking this question in 1972, and on a yearly basis since 1997. Over the history of the entire trend, Americans’ trust and confidence hit its highest point in 1976, at 72%, in the wake of widely lauded examples of investigative journalism regarding Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. After staying in the low to mid-50s through the late 1990s and into the early years of the new century, Americans’ trust in the media has fallen slowly and steadily. It has consistently been below a majority level since 2007.

Bottom Line
The divisive presidential election this year may be corroding Americans’ trust and confidence in the media, particularly among Republicans who may believe the “mainstream media” are too hyperfocused on every controversial statement or policy proposal from Trump while devoting far less attention to controversies surrounding the Clinton campaign. However, the slide in media trust has been happening for the past decade. Before 2004, it was common for a majority of Americans to profess at least some trust in the mass media, but since then, less than half of Americans feel that way. Now, only about a third of the U.S. has any trust in the Fourth Estate, a stunning development for an institution designed to inform the public.
With the explosion of the mass media in recent years, especially the prevalence of blogs, vlogs and social media, perhaps Americans decry lower standards for journalism. When opinion-driven writing becomes something like the norm, Americans may be wary of placing trust on the work of media institutions that have less rigorous reporting criteria than in the past. On the other hand, as blogs and social media “mature,” they may improve in the American public’s eyes. This could, in turn, elevate Americans’ trust and confidence in the mass media as a whole.

Not only did Armstrong fail to link to Gallup, he also failed to note the date of the article was September 14, a pertinent fact to someone who may be thinking the Gallup report is recent news.

In the following snip Armstrong did provide links.

We should expect that the media will viciously attack Donald Trump in a futile effort to cling to some level of importance and to desperately try to demonstrate that they were not wrong with 99% of the media endorsing Hillary. But the media willingly conspired to make Hillary president. They will now try to vindicate themselves by trashing Trump at every possible chance. They will now fuel the civil divide and help lay the foundation for the collapse of the United States itself by turning left against right. Even the New York Post wrote that what they were witnessing was the end of journalism. They will do everything to try to change Congress in 2018. It appears that will be their last stand. The younger generation does not buy newspapers and magazines. Their end is near.

I traced back the link beginning with “99%” to this Armstrong article: The Press Conspiracy Against Trump Continues.

That article begins …

CNBC came out and said it is breaking its non-endorsement policy to say Trump is unfit. While the press should never endorse anyone, this election is revealing just how corrupt the press really is.”

However, it was not CNBC that changed its policy, it was USA Today.

The preceding link points to an article on a CNBC cite, about a USA Today editorial: USA Today editorial declares Donald Trump is ‘unfit for the presidency’.

USA Today has decided to end its 34-year-old policy of not taking sides in a presidential election, declaring in an editorial: “Trump should not be president.”

The Actual Editorial concluded “Whatever you do, however, resist the siren song of a dangerous demagogue. By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump.

Sloppy Reporting

Failing to link to the source, not mentioning pertinent facts such as the data is 2.5 months old, and incorrectly attributing the editorial policy of USA Today to CNBC is pretty sloppy reporting.

It’s another factor in the story on falling confidence in media.

In the above link I note NY Mag sponsoring clickait ads on a page bitching about clickbait.

NY Mag did not bother responding to an email.

Clickbait Ads on NY Mag

Link Pet Peeve

My pet peeve, to which Bloomberg is the top offender, is writing articles without linking to the source.

Take Bloomberg Econoday. Econoday’s PPI and CPI analysis come straight from a BLS report. No Link. Econoday’s Philadelphia Fed and Empire Fed regional analysis comes from the Fed. No Link.

Econoday never links to its news source. Bloomberg seldom, if ever, links to anyone but itself.

It’s not just Bloomberg, MarketWatch does the same. The practice is universal and disgusting. And Bloomberg is loaded with extremely annoying auto-play videos.

I am not perfect; I occasionally miss a link, but if so, it’s by accident, not design.

Washington Post Discredits Itself

Yes, confidence in media is down, for good reason.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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