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Americans’ confidence in media hits record lows: Gallup

Empty local newspaper stands are seen in Detroit, Michigan. New research shows around two local papers close in the United States each week.

Americans’ confidence in two facets of the news media — newspapers and television news — has fallen to all-time lows, according to a new Gallup poll.

The poll found that just 16 percent of respondents had a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in newspapers, the first time on record that the measure has fallen below 20 percent, compared to 11 percent who had the same degree of confidence in television news.

Both figures are down 5 percentage points since last year.

Gallup began tracking Americans’ confidence in newspapers in 1973, recording a majority who had confidence only once in 1979, and began tracking confidence in television news in 1993. A majority has never had confidence in television news since the first poll.

Confidence levels are also split along partisan lines, with confidence among Democrats low but still higher than among Republicans and independents. 

Just 5 percent of Republican respondents have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in newspapers, compared to 12 percent of independents and 35 percent of Democrats, according to the poll.

Confidence levels in newspapers among Republicans and independents have never been lower. Democrats’ confidence rose during the Trump administration but fell after President Biden’s inauguration.

Confidence in television news followed a similar pattern, with 6 percent of Republicans surveyed having a great deal or quite a lot of confidence, compared to 8 percent of independents and 20 percent of Democrats.

The figures mark a significant drop in confidence levels among Democrats and independents, while the figure for Republicans has not substantially changed.

The poll was conducted from June 1-20 and included interviews with 1,015 adults nationwide. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

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