Originally published October 2 2014
Public trust in mainstream media plummets as readers turn to independent news sources for truth reporting
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Americans' trust in the mainstream mass media continues to decline like their trust and confidence in their elected leaders, as the most recent Gallup survey on the subject indicates.
It's been a bit of a roller coaster ride -- a love-hate relationship, if you will -- given that Americans' attitudes towards the mass media actually registered a bit higher in 2013. But that brief respite has now vanished; Gallup reports that confidence in the U.S. media's ability to report "the news fully, accurately, and fairly" has again fallen to its previous all-time low level of 40 percent.
"Americans' trust in mass media has generally been edging downward from higher levels in the late 1990s and the early 2000s," Gallup said.
Before 2004, the polling firm said, Americans put more trust in mass media than they do currently, with small majorities saying they had a "great deal" or "fair amount" of trust in the corporate media.
However, during the course of George W. Bush's reelection cycle, when he ran against the Democratic nominee, then-Sen. John Kerry, currently the Obama Administration's secretary of state, "the level of trust fell significantly," Gallup reported, dropping to 44 percent in 2004 from 54 percent a year earlier. Trust rebounded somewhat, to 50 percent, in 2005, but levels have not reached a full majority since.
"Americans' trust in the media in recent years has dropped slightly in election years, including 2008, 2010, 2012, and again this year -- only to edge its way back up again in the following odd-numbered years," Gallup reported. "Although the differences between the drops and the recoveries are not large, they suggest that something about national elections triggers skepticism about the accuracy of the news media's reporting."
In the past, Democrats have tended to have much more trust in the mainstream media -- probably because much of it is liberal-oriented -- than Republicans, but trust among that political demographic is falling as well, now at a 14-year low of 54 percent.
Republican trust in the mainstream media is a paltry 27 percent, just one percentage point above their all-time low. Gallup says Independents have held steady, but at just 38 percent of trust, up one point from 37 percent a year ago.
"As has been the case historically, Americans are most likely to feel the news media are 'too liberal' (44%) rather than 'too conservative,' though this perceived liberal bias is now on the lower side of the trend," Gallup said. Now, about one-in-three Americans (34 percent) believe that he media are "just about right" when it comes to news coverage -- down just a bit from 37 percent in 2013.
But almost one in five Americans, or 19 percent, now believe that the media is too conservative -- still a relatively low statistic, but nonetheless the highest it has been since 2006.
Trust is down in all American institutions
"This is up six points from 2013 -- the sharpest increase in the percentage of Americans who feel the news skews too far right since Gallup began asking the question in 2001," Gallup reported, adding:
Though a sizable percentage of Americans continue to have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media, Americans' overall trust in the Fourth Estate continues to be significantly lower now than it was 10 to 15 years ago.
As Natural News has reported, the growth of the so-called "alternative media" has dramatically cut into the mainstream media's lock on the news market. Also, the growth of social media and mobile technology, which give ordinary citizens incredible reporting power, has taken a bite of out the mainstream's influence.
And finally, as Gallup notes, Americans' confidence in a number of their institutions -- the presidency, Congress, the legal system -- are at all-time lows.
"Americans' opinions about the media appear affected in election years, however. Americans' trust in the media will likely recover slightly in 2015 with the absence of political campaigns," Gallup reported. "But the overarching pattern of the past decade has shown few signs of slowing the decline of faith in mass media as a whole."
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