Americans Mistrusting the Media

Recent polls from Gallup at the end of 2012, a source for showing how people around the world think and feel for more than 70 years, has created two polls that show how Americans feel about their journalists and their ability to cover the news.

These polls ask the questions; How would you rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in these fields, and How much trust and confidence do you have in the mass media? Surprisingly, both polls showed a low rating for journalist.

The poll asking about ethical standards included different fields, not just journalism. The most trusted on ethics with a rating of ‘high/very high’ were people in the medical field like Pharmacists at 85 percent, while the least trusted were sales persons like a car salesman at 8 percent. Journalist fared in the middle with a 24 percent right above business executives and below bankers. This poll has been asked yearly and each year there is no more than a movement up or down as much as four percent for journalism. In 2011 it was the highest for journalists at a 26 percent with a ‘high/very high’ rating.

Now, when it comes to trusting and having confidence in the media reporting the news fully, accurately and fairly, people polled had little faith. 60 percent of Americans say that they trust the media “Not very much/ Not at all”. This is an all time low since the 90’s when Gallup started asking this question. Trust in the media was also asked by political party preference, with Independents and Republicans distrusting the media the most with a 31 and 26 percent rating. These parties feel they do not receive the adequate amount of fair news coverage available around election time.

With this being said, what would be the main reason for distrusting the media and journalists? What does it mean for journalists for the present and the future if viewers and readers do not trust what is being told? Why do Americans put journalists in the middle of the pack when it comes to ethical standards? And do certain political parties really play a different role in the amount of media coverage, making the media less trusted in their eyes?

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2 Comments on “Americans Mistrusting the Media”

  1. Benjamin Wolk says:

    The purpose of media is to properly inform the community about a variety of topics to create a safe and knowledgeable environment for its citizens. Clearly, with the result of this poll, that trust is beginning to dwindle. The people that should be the first to take alarm to this is the up and coming breed of journalist. It is our responsibility to revert back to the way journalism was meant to be handled, being careful with what we cover and how we cover it, to try and help the media regain the trust of the nation.

  2. Kyla Ross says:

    I think the line has blurred between trained and true journalists and the mass use of social media like Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. Today it seems everyone can dip their toes in media and reporting with a phone, camera, or keypad. There are countless ways to get information now, making it difficult to determine who you can trust. I think the future looks a little dire if people believe they cannot trust journalists. A free press is a core principle of democracy and the public must have the trust and confidence in the media to inform them. Of course, politics swaying certain media outlets or ‘journalists’ is definitely a cause for why mistrust of the media is growing problem. It is no wonder people may see journalists’ ethical standards as less than moral.


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