Trust in Media and Elected Officials Near Record Lows in Gallup Poll
American confidence in media is at nearly the lowest level since the early 1970s. A new Gallup poll finds just 36 percent of survey respondents say they trust the press to report the news fully, fairly, and accurately (down from 40 percent who said the same last year).
This marks the second-lowest level of trust in media since Gallup started measuring trust in U.S. institutions in 1972. The record low came in 2016, when just 32 percent of people said they had either “a great deal” of trust in media or “a fair amount” of trust.
In 2021, 7 percent of those polled said they have a great deal of trust, and 29 percent a fair amount. Meanwhile, 29 percent have “not very much” trust in media and 34 percent “none at all.”
This is down significantly from the early 1970s (when 68–72 percent of people trusted mass media) and from the late 1990s. In 1997, 53 percent of people had a great deal or a fair amount of confidence in the press. But “trust in the media, which has averaged 45% since 1997, has not reached the majority level since 2003,” notes Gallup.
The poll—conducted September 1–17—also found waning trust in government:
Less than half of U.S. adults (44%) say they have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in people who hold or are running for public office, rivaling the record low of 42% from 2016. Meanwhile, a small majority (55%) express a similar level of confidence in the judgments of the American people under the democratic system, the lowest Gallup has measured to date but not meaningfully different from 56% readings in 2016 and 2020….
Gallup’s trends on these measures, dating back to 1972 (for politicians) and 1974 (for the American people), reflect a continuing decline in confidence in politicians and voters over the ensuing decades. Americans have been consistently more likely to express trust in voters than in people who hold or are running for public office, but both trends have generally ebbed in the 2000s and again in the 2010s.
In 1974, 68 percent of people Gallup surveyed said they had a great deal or a fair amount of trust in elected officials.
Trust in the federal government’s ability to handle foreign and domestic issues is also low.
“Trust in the federal government’s handling of international problems has fallen nine percentage points since last year to a record-low 39%, and now matches the level of trust for its handling of domestic problems,” Gallup reported in September. In addition, confidence in the judicial branch—while still at 54 percent—was down 13 percentage points from 2020.
“In every reading dating back to 1997, the public has expressed more trust in the judicial branch of the federal government than in the executive and legislative branches,” noted Gallup, and “over the past decade, U.S. adults’ confidence in the executive branch (headed by the president) has exceeded confidence in the legislative branch (composed of both houses of Congress).”
In September’s poll, 44 percent of Americans said they trust the executive branch and 37 percent said they trust Congress.
Google and YouTube are adding climate change denial content to the list of things you can’t say if you want to monetize your videos or websites. The ban applies to content that goes against “well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change,” and “includes content referring to climate change as a hoax or a scam, claims denying that long-term trends show the global climate is warming, and claims denying that greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate chan
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