Americans’ Confidence in TV News at All-Time Low

By Andrew Gauthier 

Americans’ confidence in television news has never been lower, according to a new Gallup poll.

Only 21% of adults polled expressed a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in TV news.  That’s the lowest percentage ever registered by Gallup since the organization began tracking confidence in TV news in 1993.  Last year, the figure was 27%.

Gallup conducted its annual survey on confidence in U.S. institutions in early June and the organization points out that the latest findings preceded the erroneous initial reports from CNN and Fox News about the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent health care ruling.


Since 2009, according to Gallup’s research, liberals and moderates have had more confidence in TV news than conservatives but this year the confidence of liberals and moderates dropped below that of conservatives, with liberals and moderates coming in at 19 and 20%, respectively, compared to 22% of conservatives who said that they have faith in TV news.

Interestingly, the age group with the highest level of confidence in TV news was the youngest.  28% of 18- to 29-year-olds expressed a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in TV news.  That’s down from the 34% of 18- to 29-year-olds who responded the same way in 2011, but it’s still markedly higher than 22% of 30- to 49-year-olds; 16% of 50- to 64-year-olds; and 21% of 65-year-olds and older.

Also, as has been the case in the past, more woman than men expressed a high level of confidence in TV news.  26% of women polled said that they have a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in TV news, while just 16% of men said that they have faith in the medium.

So why is confidence in TV news at an all-time low?  Here’s Gallup’s answer:

It is not clear precisely why Americans soured so much on television news this year compared with last. Americans’ negativity likely reflects the continuation of a broader trend that appeared to enjoy only a brief respite last year. Americans have grown more negative about the media in recent years, as they have about many other U.S. institutions and the direction of the country in general.

Full results here.