Americans’ trust in the media declined in September to its second-lowest level ever, the latest I&I/TIPP Trust in Media index shows. It’s yet another sign that mainstream news outlets, websites, blogs and other online media providers are suffering a collapse in public credibility.
I&I/TIPP Trust in Media indexes for both traditional media and alternative media dropped.
The index for traditional media edged down from 44.8 in August to 43.7 in September. It was the second-lowest level since the index was created last March. Examples of traditional media would include the Washington Post, New York Times, NPR and CNN, among other major national news outlets.
The companion index for so-called alternative media also slipped, from 41.6 in August to 40.2 in September. Examples of these media include the New York Post, Washington Times, NewsMax, The Daily Caller, RealClearPolitics and other largely non-mainstream news sources, many primarily web-based.
These data come from the I&I/TIPP poll, carried out monthly by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, I&I’s polling partner. The online poll of 1,305 adults was taken from Sept. 1 through Sept. 3, and is part of a broad new public opinion collaboration between Issues & Insights and TIPP. The margin of error is +/- 2.8 points.
If there’s one message that once again emerges loud and clear from the data, it is that America remains sharply divided about the job the mainstream media are doing. The numbers cleave neatly along political affiliation, Once again, political affiliation was the big divide for Americans.
Among Republicans and independents, responses for the mostly liberal-left traditional media show a high level of distrust. The index for Republicans stood at 23.5, the lowest ever and nearly 10 points below the initial level measured just last March. Independents actually gained some for the month, rising from August’s 33.8 reading to 36.3.
But both show a difference from the Democrats. For the Dems, the traditional media gauge rose to 65.7 for the month, nearly three times higher than the Republican index and almost twice the level of the independents.
The Alternative Media measure is a different story. Those largely conservative and centrist outlets enjoy more support from Republicans and independents than the Traditional Media. On a percentage basis, the Alternative Media Trust stood at 25% for both groups, and the “no trust” response garnered 68% for both.
In short, when it comes to media, Americans seem more divided than ever by their choice of information sources.
Even so, what stands out most of all is the high level of absolute distrust shown by Americans toward their main media sources. Some 25% of all those responding to the poll said they had “no trust at all” in the Traditional Media complex.
That’s a significant number, one that suggests the media have abrogated their duty to keep bias out of their news feeds. For Democrats, only 6% said they have “no trust” in Traditional Media. But 23% total for members of that party said they had “little trust.”
One other troubling element lying behind the media’s dismal regard in the public eye: race.
White Americans are far less likely than Blacks and Hispanics to show trust in the media. While just 36% of Whites said they trusted the media, a whopping 58% said they didn’t. Meanwhile, 49% of Blacks and Hispanics, taken together, said they trusted the big media outlets, while 45% said they didn’t.
Disgruntlement with the media was a regional phenomenon, too. The Northeast (48%), Midwest (62%), South (55%) and West (47%) all showed significant distrust of the big media that feed us information daily.
Those looking for reasons behind this high level of distrust need look no further than recent news events that either were under-covered by the media or intentionally distorted. Examples abound.
In California, GOP gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder was smeared as the “black face of white supremacy” by the L.A. Times, an overtly racist commentary by the state’s most powerful newspaper, which largely served as a cheerleader for the dysfunctional state’s leaders during the recent recall campaign.
Meanwhile, national newspapers couldn’t be bothered to cover the blockbuster revelations about Hunter Biden’s apparent attempt to extort cash in his father’s name from the Ukraine, China and even, most recently, Libya.
“The Hunter Biden email cover-up may not be the most contemptible example of the modern political media’s corruption, but it is probably the most demonstrable,” wrote David Hasanyi in the New York Post.
Those who see an increasing unholy alliance between the Democratic Party and big media have some reason to be concerned: The recent “infrastructure” bill includes significant subsidies to new media, likely an unconstitutional breech of our nation’s traditional federal non-interference with First Amendment rights.
All in all, a glum picture of growing distrust for our nation’s media.
In the coming weeks and months, I&I/TIPP will continue to cull more data from polls in the on topics of interest to all Americans. TIPP has the distinction of being the most accurate pollster for the past five presidential elections.