Years of mainstream media's abuse of power has its consequences. A new Gallup Poll reveals that Americans have reached critical mass when it comes to the lies, deception, and overt political agendas pushed by major news networks and publications, with just 32 percent saying they still have a "great" or "fair amount" of trust in media.
That means that roughly 70 percent of the nation distrusts mainstream media. While the largest dip in confidence was, understandably, among Republicans -- with 14 percent saying they trust media now compared to 32 percent last year -- other demographic groups have lost their faith as well.
Gallup measures Americans trust in mass media "to report the news fully, accurately and fairly" and the findings speak for themselves:
Overall confidence in media among Americans has declined 8 percent since last year and has fallen more than 20 points during the media's glory days of the last two decades. Worse, Gallup notes that when it began this media poll in 1972, Americans' trust in media was staggeringly high, at 72 percent.
Over the history of the entire trend, Americans' trust and confidence hit its highest point in 1976, at 72%, in the wake of widely lauded examples of investigative journalism regarding Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. After staying in the low to mid-50s through the late 1990s and into the early years of the new century, Americans' trust in the media has fallen slowly and steadily. It has consistently been below a majority level since 2007.
Oddly, the poll reveals that younger generations are increasingly skeptical of media:
Currently, 26% of those aged 18 to 49 (down from 36% last year) and 38% of those aged 50 and older (down from 45%) say they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. And 2016 marks the first time that confidence among older Americans has dropped below 40% in polling since 2001.
The "bottom line," according to Gallup, is that while the divisiveness of this particular presidential election is impacting Republicans' views of media in a marked way, trust in media has been on the decline for quite some time.
"Before 2004, it was common for a majority of Americans to profess at least some trust in the mass media, but since then, less than half of Americans feel that way," the polling organization concludes.
"Now, only about a third of the U.S. has any trust in the Fourth Estate, a stunning development for an institution designed to inform the public."
While these poll results are not shocking, we agree with Gallup's take that they are, or at least should be considered "stunning." We've become jaded and now expect media to play a propagandistic rather than informational role, but that wasn't always the case. Some who still recall decades past often concede that while liberal biases among news anchors and columnists may have bubbled to the surface time and again, it was nothing compared to now. Also worth noting is that the liberalism of the 50s, 60s, 70s and heck, even the 90s was a far cry from the progressivism and hack journalism that has become a mainstay of major, once reputable news outlets today.