As heats up the presidential campaign, so distrust in the media soars, according to a new Gallup poll that finds 60 percent of respondents saying they have little or no trust that the news they are receiving is being delivered fully, accurately, and fairly.
Conducted earlier this month, this survey finds negativity toward the media at an unprecedented high for a presidential election year. The finds, Gallup reports, reflect “the continuation of a pattern in which negativity increases every election year compared with the year prior.” The current gap between negative and positive views—20 percentage points—is by the far the highest Gallup has recorded since it began regularly asking this question in the 1990s, Gallup said.
Is this a case of blaming the messenger? In this election year, the struggling economy is the number one campaign issue. These concerns are bring exacerbated by the perception that lawmakers from both parties are either unwilling or unable to take bipartisan action to fix it. On Friday, Sen. Olympia Snow announced her retirement, citing frustration with gridlock
It is not surprising then, that in more than eight-in-10 ultra-wealthy households surveyed by Millionaire Corner, the deeply partisan political situation is their primary national concern.
This divisive partisanship is being projected onto the media, according to the Gallup poll. This year’s decline in media trust is being driven by those who identify themselves as independents and Republicans. The 31 percent and 26 percent, respectively, who said they do trust the media to be objective are record lows and down significantly from 2011. The Republicans’ low level of trust this year is equal to what they expressed in the fall of 2008, an indication, Gallup ponders, that they are especially critical of election coverage.
Americans do tend to pay more attention to political news in presidential election years, and that is the case this year, Gallup finds, but they are paying less attention this year than they were in 2008, 39 percent vs. 43 percent four years ago. This may be because four years ago offered more compelling personalities (Sarah Palin) and an historic storyline (Barack Obama’s candidacy and election)
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.