Trust issues: Americans increasingly distrust the news media

Not yet a subscriber? Sign up free below.

The bias bubble

A Gallup and Knight Foundation report published last week found that most Americans now have a negative outlook on the news media landscape, with 53% reporting a very or at least somewhat unfavorable view.

Coverage across nearly every major story — from Chinese spy balloons to toxic chemical train derailments — is open to spin or sensationalism. That’s increasingly impactful in the internet age, when barriers to sharing information are at an all-time low. Misleading coverage can spread like wildfire, and exaggerated reporting often tends to break through more (you WON’T believe what Elon Musk said about the mainstream media in this tweet<<< click here).

Trust fall

Another series of surveys from Gallup reveals that 25% of Americans in 1993 reported having very little or no confidence in newspapers, a number that’s risen to 46% in the 30 years since. Confidence has fallen even further over the same period for TV news: 18% said they felt the same way about that source in 1993, a proportion that had grown to 53% in 2022.

Exactly why America is more distrustful of the media is unclear, though it coincides with the rise in political polarization that’s taken place over the last 25-30 years and the ascent of social media.

Go deeper: explore confidence in other American institutions via the Gallup data.

Not yet a subscriber? Sign up free below.


Stories from this newsletter

Trust issues: Americans increasingly distrust the news media
Content is queen: CEO Susan Wojcicki is calling time on her tenure at YouTube
Hot air: BP is talking a lot about emissions, but scaling back its targets
We and our partners use cookies and similar technologies (“Cookies”) on our website and in our newsletters for performance, analytical or advertising purposes to ensure you have the best experience on our site and/or interaction with us. To find out more about the use of Cookies, see our Cookie Notice. Please click OK if you consent to our use of Cookies or click Manage my Preferences to manage your Cookie preferences.