The results are in, and they’re (still) pitiful


How much confidence do you have in the news media to help you stay accurately informed?

The Gallup organization has been polling on this question since the 1970s for newspapers and since the 1990s for TV news. The answer has been less and less and less over time and, if you are a Republican, even less than that.

I’ll give you a link to the results displayed graphically below. Gallup started asking the newspaper question in 1972. The question: “Please tell me how much confidence you, yourself, have in newspapers — a great deal, quite a lot, some or very little?

In 1979, 51% said “a great deal” or “quite a lot.” That was the all-time high. In 1993 they added a question about confidence in TV news, which scored 46% “a great deal/quite a lot” that year. It was also the all-time high.

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You can see where this is going, but it helps to have a highly regarded polling organization like Gallup asking the same question again and again over the years to get a clear picture of the trends.

Since inception, you could say the numbers bounce around a bit, but the overall trend, for both, is clearly what yoga would call “downward dog.”

The 2022 results are already in. The percentage of Americans who said they have either “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the information they get from newspapers hit a new all-time low of 16%. The remainder, in other words the ever-increasing majority, chose either “some” or “very little” although Gallup notes that 3% volunteered an answer that was not on the survey, namely “none.” 

So, the 2022 results said that a combined 16% of respondents said they had “”a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the print news media, and an even more pitiful 11% said that about TV news.

Gallup also broke the responses down by political party. Democrats consistently had more confidence than Republicans, and they consistently had the most confidence in newspapers but, in 2021-22, that figure (Democrats’ confidence in newspapers) still dropped from 38% in 2021 to 35% in 2022. On the same confidence-in-newspapers question, Republicans dropped from 8% to 5%.

You can see the results displayed graphically on the Gallup site, here.


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