Americans don't trust the media

Trust levels in newspapers and television news are at historic lows. By political leaning, Democrats trust these media more than Republicans.

Public trust in the media is at an all-time low. According to the latest Gallup poll, trust in newspapers is down for the first time from 20% to a low of 16%. Trust in television news is even lower, at just 11%. In both cases, the figures are down five points from last year.

Gallup has tracked Americans' trust in newspapers since 1973 and in television news since 1993 as part of its annual survey of major U.S. institutions. The latest data come from a survey conducted June 1-20.

Confianza de los americanos en los medios de comunicación
Americans' confidence in the media (Gallup-own elaboration)


Most Americans have expressed confidence in newspapers only once, in 1979, when 51% did so. But there is a wide margin between that figure and the second highest, 39%, in 1973 and 1990. The median trend for newspapers is 30%, well above the last reading. The percentage of Americans who say they have "very little or no trust" is currently the highest on record, at 46%.

Trust in television news has never been higher than its initial reading of 46% in 1993 and has averaged 27%, considerably higher than the current 11%. This is the fourth consecutive year that confidence in TV news has been below 20%. And for the second time in the trend, a majority of Americans, 53%, now say they have "very little or no confidence" in television news.

Trust in the media by political tendency

Therefore, Americans increasingly disbelieve what they see on television or read in the newspapers. This discrediting is also influenced by political trends. Democrats have somewhat more confidence in the media than Republicans and independents.

Only 5% of Republicans trust newspapers a great deal or a fair amount, compared to 12% of independents and 35% of Democrats, according to the survey.


Confianza en los periódicos
Newspapers confidence (Gallup-own elaboration)


Confidence in television news follows a similar pattern, with 6 percent of Republicans very or somewhat confident, compared to 8 percent of independents and 20 percent of Democrats. These are very low numbers that should give the profession pause for thought.

Confianza en las noticias de televisión
Newst TV Confidence (Gallup-own elaboration)


Newspaper trust levels among Republicans and independents have never been lower. Democrats' trust rose during the Trump administration, but fell again after President Biden's inauguration. The figures mark a significant decline in trust levels among Democrats and independents, while the figure for Republicans is substantially unchanged.

That survey was conducted June 1-20 and included interviews with 1,015 adults nationwide. The margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points.