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Media Confidence in U.S. Matches 2016 Record Low

Media Confidence in U.S. Matches 2016 Record Low

Story Highlights

  • 32% have a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in media’s news reporting
  • New high of 39% have no confidence at all, compared with 27% in 2016
  • Democrats’ trust is down 12 points since last year; lowest since 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The 32% of Americans who say they trust the mass media “a great deal” or “a fair amount” to report the news in a full, fair and accurate way ties Gallup’s lowest historical reading, previously recorded in 2016. Although trust in media currently matches the historical low, it was statistically similar in 2021 (36%) and 2022 (34%).

Another 29% of U.S. adults have “not very much” trust, while a record-high 39% register “none at all.” This nearly four in 10 Americans who completely lack confidence in the media is the highest on record by one percentage point. It is 12 points higher than the 2016 reading, which came amid sharp criticism of the media from then-presidential candidate Donald Trump -- making the current assessment of the media the grimmest in Gallup’s history. In 2016, U.S. adults were most likely to say they had “not very much” trust (41%).


The latest poll, conducted Sept. 1-23, marks just the second time, along with last year, that the share of Americans who have no confidence at all in the media has surpassed the percentage with a great deal or fair amount of trust.

Gallup first asked this question in 1972 and has tracked it nearly every year since 1997. Trust ranged from 68% to 72% in three readings in the 1970s, and though it had declined by the late 1990s, it remained at the majority level until 2004, when it fell to 44%. After rebounding slightly to 50% in 2005, it has not risen above 47% since.

Democrats’  Trust in Media Down, Lowest Since 2016

Democrats’ confidence in the mass media has consistently outpaced Republicans’, but the latest gap of 47 points is the narrowest since 2016. Democrats’ trust in the media has fallen 12 points over the past year, to 58%, and compares with 11% among Republicans and 29% among independents.

The gap in partisans’ media confidence was largest from 2017 through 2022. During that period, Democrats’ trust was above its trend average of 64%, while Republicans’ and independents’ confidence were each below their averages (33% and 44%, respectively).


Aggregated data last year showed that young Democrats trust the media far less than older Democrats, while Republicans are less varied in their views by age group.

Bottom Line

Americans’ confidence in the mass media to report the news fully, fairly and accurately is at its lowest point since 2016, when Republicans’ trust fell sharply. This low confidence reading for the fourth estate comes at a time when trust in each of the three branches of the federal government is also low.

In addition, Gallup in June found confidence readings in both TV news and newspapers that were near their historical lows and last December found a record-low-tying rating of the honesty and ethics of journalists.

Although partisans remain sharply divided in their views of the media, Democrats’ trust fell significantly this year. Still, a majority of Democrats but few Republicans continue to have confidence in the mass media. Republicans’ low confidence in the media has little room to worsen, but Democrats’ could still deteriorate and bring the overall national confidence reading down further.

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