Gallup Poll: Majority of Americans Distrust the Media

A recent Gallup poll shows that, for the fourth year in a row, the majority of Americans have little or no trust in the media.

When asked how much trust and confidence they have in the mass media to fully, accurately, and fairly report the news, 57 percent of respondents said they have “not very much/none at all.” Gallup says this is a record high by one percentage point. The survey was conducted between September 13 and September 16. A random sample of 1,019 adults ages 18 and over were questioned.

PR pros have already incorporated a great deal of social media into their work because of the impact that word-of-mouth recommendations and social networks can have. But results so far from this week’s PRNewser poll show that traditional media still holds sway and shouldn’t be totally discounted as irrelevant.

Derek Thompson, writing for, makes an important point in his essay about the poll: “mainstream media voices increasingly distinguish themselves by telling us not to trust the rest of the mainstream media.” Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, Jon Stewart (the most trusted man in media), and others repeatedly talk about the horrible mess that is the current state of mass media.

“So to consume opinion journalism — a category to which I probably belong, and which is gaining currency in newspapers, magazines and television — is to consume a product that exists to tell you that the product is inherently rotten,” Thompson writes.

But oftentimes, publicists aren’t seeking coverage from these sorts of journalists. Rather, they’re looking for opportunities to tell their own stories to reporters who are writing from a hard news standpoint. Combining these media relations efforts with outreach through a brand’s own communications channels will still reach a receptive audience that is as open to fun, interesting, and insightful information as ever.