Trust in America’s mainstream media is continuing its downward cycle, falling to new lows in recent years as major newspapers lose more and more credibility.
According to a recent Gallup survey, “Americans’ confidence in newspapers fell slightly to 23 percent this year, from 25 percent in 2012 and 28 percent in 2011.” The previous recorded low was 22 percent in 2007, so clearly the trend has begun another downward slide. What’s more, newspapers rank right down there with other notable U.S. institutions – like Congress.
Newspapers rank near the bottom on a list of 16 societal institutions Gallup measured in a June 1-4 survey. Television news is tied with newspapers on the list, with 23 percent of Americans also expressing confidence in it. That is up slightly from the all-time low of 21 percent found last year. The only institutions television news and newspapers beat out this year are big business, organized labor, Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), and Congress.
Confidence in the press falling, falling, falling…
Probably as expected, liberals as a group tend to trust newspapers more than conservatives, given the decidedly liberal editorial bent of most major-market newspapers. Of the two groups, Gallup found that conservatives’ confidence in newspapers has fallen to 15 percent – down from 21 percent in 2011 and 2012. “Liberals remain the most confident in newspapers – although not by much – with 31 percent putting a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in them this year,” said the survey.
Confidence levels in newspapers also reflect ideology. Democrats have the most confidence in them – 33 percent – following by 19 percent of Independents and 16 percent of Republicans.
More from the survey:
Liberals’ and moderates’ confidence improved this year after tumbling in 2012. Now these groups express more confidence in television news than do conservatives; last year the groups had similar confidence. Last year’s survey was conducted amid a heated re-election campaign for President Obama, which may be one reason liberals’ and moderates’ confidence dropped at that time.
That liberals’ confidence would drop during the last presidential election cycle – or 2008, for that matter – is interesting, given that the mainstream media virtually refused to vet Obama or cover some of his administration’s most damning scandals (Operation Fast and Furious and the Benghazi cover-up, to be sure).
“Overall, Americans in all key demographic and socioeconomic groups express low levels of confidence in news institutions. Negativity varies somewhat by age, education, and gender,” the survey said. “Two in 10 Americans aged 18 to 64 have high confidence in television news, compared with three in 10 seniors. But young adults have the most confidence in newspapers across age groups – as was the case last year – with three in 10 expressing a great deal or quite a lot of confidence.”
In addition, Americans with more education have lower confidence in TV news compared to those with less education, and women in general have higher confidence.
MSM shirks its duty to keep watch on government
Overall, however, Americans’ confidence in, and approval of, TV news and newspapers is abysmally low for an institute charged with keeping a watchful eye on government – and that is the fault of the mainstream media.
In 1971 U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black wrote:
In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.
Much of the mainstream media, however, has shirked its responsibility to inform Americans about what their government – regardless of which party is in power – is doing. And that’s why the MSM gets such low marks (and why the alternative media, like NaturalNews, is growing so fast).
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