US trust of media dwindling
AFP – August 13, 2010
No more than one-quarter of Americans trusts the news media, but the greatest confidence in the struggling newspaper industry ironically comes from young people, a poll said Friday.
The Gallup poll found that 25 percent of Americans felt a "great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in newspapers and 22 percent in television news, in line with a steady slide over the past two decades.
The media were among the national institutions in which Americans placed the least confidence, although Congress, big business and health care coverage providers fared worse.
However, 49 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds said they placed confidence in newspapers, the same demographic often blamed for the precipitous decline in US dailies' subscription rates.
Confidence falls sharply once Americans get older, with only 19 percent of 30-to-49-year-olds trusting newspapers before the figure rises among middle-aged and elderly people.
Explaining the results, Gallup said young people tended to place more trust in institutions in general and noted that online media, despite growing popularity, often linked back to traditional media.
"But so long as roughly three in four Americans remain distrustful, it will be difficult to attract the large and loyal audiences necessary to boost revenues," it said.
Liberals were the most trustful of newspapers, at 35 percent, compared with 18 percent of conservatives. The gap was narrower in views on television media, with moderates the most confident.
Gallup said it surveyed 1,020 adults in the continental United States and gave a margin of error of four percentage points.
Last updated 17/08/2010