Gallup polls Americans on what they think of news coverage in newspapers, TV, and radio, and the result is not surprising:
Americans’ distrust in the media hit a new high this year, with 60 percent saying they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly.
(I know, you’re wondering how in the world 40 percent of Americans could possibly have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of “trust and confidence in the news media to report the news accurately and fairly.”)
What is perhaps even less surprising is that only 26 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of independents have a “great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in the media. Yet 58 percent of Democrats have a “great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in the media.
Now, in the Jolt and elsewhere, we’ve marveled at how much of the “big breaking news” has had little or no significant impact on the tracking polls. Gallup’s survey result confirms our suspicions — a larger chunk of the electorate isn’t really paying attention:
Americans are less likely this year to be paying close attention to news about national politics than they were in 2008. The 39% who say they are paying close attention is up from last year — when Americans were paying a high level of attention compared with other non-election years — but down from 43% in September 2008.
What’s really fascinating is that even though you and I can go through a newspaper or watch a couple of hours of the cable networks and pick out examples of coverage that we find laughably or infuriatingly one-sided . . . we’re apparently the ones paying closest attention:
Despite their record-low trust in media, Republicans are the partisan group most likely to be paying close attention to news about national politics, with the 48% who are doing so similar to the 50 percent in 2008 and up significantly from 38 percent in 2004.
Stop complaining about right-of-center viewers and readers calling you biased, mainstream television, radio, and print reporters. Right now, the folks throwing things at their television and fuming about your liberal bias are the biggest chunk of your audience.