If you don't have much confidence that the mainstream news media are telling you the real story, you've got lots of company. A new Gallup poll shows US public confidence in the news is at its lowest level ever. Gallup says the survey shows 60% of Americans have "little or no" trust in mainstream media. Distrust has risen since 2006, when it was at 50%.
The conservative blogosphere is having a field day with the news, saying it proves that US news organisations have a liberal bias. And the poll numbers do indicate a partisan split in the US: while a solid majority (58%) of Democrats trust the news, only 31% of independents and a paltry 28% of Republicans believe what they read and hear in the mainstream media.
Outside the US, the level of trust is dropping in other countries, too. Last year, Gallup found that only 39% of Britons had confidence in the quality and integrity of their news media, even before the notorious phonehacking scandal at Murdoch-owned newspapers. In 2010, Gallup found below-majority levels of trust among Germans, Swedes, Greeks, the French and more.
Possible reasons? The UK phonehacking/bribery scandal, high-profile plagiarism cases in the US, and growing consolidation of media ownership – with more outlets concentrated in fewer hands – are likely all factors.
Either way, it certainly opens the field for a media outlet people can actually trust.
Sources: Gallup, Newsbusters, Avaaz, Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas