According to the results of Gallup’s latest survey gauging Americans’ confidence in various forms of news media, fewer consumers trust the news they’re given than ever before. The survey focused on newspapers, television, and Internet sources, asking respondents how much confidence they have in each.
Newspapers have seen a staggering drop since their high point more than 35 years ago, when more than half of those polled said they had ‘a great deal’ or ‘quite a lot’ of confidence in what was being reported.
“Confidence in newspapers has declined by more than half,” Gallup explained, “since its 1979 peak of 51%, while TV news has seen confidence ebb from its high of 46% in 1993, the first year that Gallup asked this question.”
The most recent results show that newspapers and television currently have a confidence level of 22 percent and 18 percent, respectively.
Online news media results have been tracked with less frequency in the annual poll, with the only previous inquiry coming in 1999. Back then, when the Internet was still a fledgling phenomenon, 21 percent of respondents expressed confidence in it as a source of reliable news. Fifteen years later, that number has dropped by just two percent.
That means the Internet, a relative free-for-all compared to the constructs of other sources, is considered more reliable than television news programming among Americans.
The poll offered a glimpse into how Americans feel based on their own ideological views. As it turns out, conservatives are more likely to trust television–while those on the left are more likely to rely on newspapers.
While newspapers struggle to remain relevant, and networks like MSNBC fight to maintain even their current dismal ratings, online news sources are flourishing. Meanwhile, Americans seem to trust these new media outlets about as much – if not more – than their more established counterparts.
Politico offered its own poll asking readers which type of news source they trust most. The results of that survey were far more decisive.
As of this writing, more than eight in 10 reveal they trust online sources. Newspapers are in a distant second with about 14 percent of the vote, while television news gets a nod from less than five percent of respondents.
Photo credit: photolibrarian (Flickr)
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom