SHOCKER! Trust in News Plummets to All-Time Low

Townhall Media

This is NOT just another boring “no one trusts the news” post. First, I’m writing it. I may write stuff that you mistakenly believe is wrong, dumb, or even evil. But it’s never boring, if I may be allowed to insert an applause track here…


Nor is it boring because we’re all cheered by every poll that shows the trust needle moving lower and lower for the news media. If this keeps up, pollsters are going to have to invent a new way to measure failure, quantify awfulness, and calibrate disbelief.

Gallup does an annual survey of U.S. institutions, and guess what? Nobody trusts anyone anymore. And no one trusts newspapers or the media. Only 11 percent of those surveyed say they trust television news. It’s slightly better for newspapers—16 percent trust them.


Americans’ confidence in newspapers and television news has plummeted to an all-time low, according to the latest annual Gallup survey of trust in U.S. institutions.

Why it matters: The erosion of trust in media is one of the most significant signs of deepening polarization in America.

Political party affiliation has become the primary driver of opinions about the media’s trustworthiness, as Gallup has noted.

A 2021 poll from Pew Research Center found that Republicans are far less likely to trust media sources that are considered “mainstream.”

Details: Television news is today considered the second-least trusted institution in the country, following Congress, according to the poll.

While other institutions have also experienced precipitous declines, including banks and the medical system, others — like small business and the military — have held steady over the past few decades.


The top three institutions that Americans say they have the most trust in are small businesses, the military, and the police. For all the media abuse the police have taken, they only dropped six points, bringing them below the 50 percent line to 46 percent. But the police poll far better than your religion, which is at 37 percent.

As with everything else, the partisan divide in media trust is noticeable.

  • Just 5% of Republicans said they have “a great deal or quite a lot of confidence” in newspapers, compared to 35% of Democrats.
  • Only 8% of Republicans said they have “a great deal or quite a lot of confidence” in TV news, compared to 20% of Democrats.
  • Independents’ views are generally closer to Republicans’.

Whose fault is that? Obviously, it’s my fault — and everyone else here at PJ Media. “The lack of trust in traditional news institutions is growing as partisan voices become more accessible online.”

  • Data and experts suggest the public struggles to distinguish fact-based journalism from opinion content online.
  • The standards used by traditional media outlets — like fact-checking, bylines, datelines, and corrections — have not been fully-adopted by online news commentators on blogs, podcasts and social media.

Maybe the public is struggling to “distinguish fact-based journalism from opinion content online” because there is precious little difference between “fact-based journalism” and opinion. In fact, the two merge seamlessly into one another.

In truth, I don’t do “journalism” any more than MSNBC does “journalism.” I interpret the facts through my own biased prism—same facts, different interpretations. I don’t pretend to be objective. MSNBC does.

Simply saying that a news report is from CNN or Fox or any cable news outlet doesn’t make it “fact-based.” And until the national news media figures that out, their trust factor will continue to dive into the netherworld.



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