Only 21% of Americans Have Confidence in Television News

TV News - IllustrationIt probably won't surprise you to hear that many Americans have a healthy distrust of television news.

What may surprise you is just how few Americans actually trust TV news, and just how much faith in the reliability of TV news has plummeted over the past 20 years.

According to, 21% of American adults expressed a "great deal or quite a lot of confidence" in television news in Gallup's most recent survey on confidence in US institutions. This number is down 6 points from last year and 25 points since 1993.

That's right - less than 20 years ago, a full 46% of American adults said that they had a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in TV news. By 2002, this number had dropped to 34%. By 2012, confidence in television news had plummeted to just 21%.

Conservatives and liberals have both experienced a shocking loss of trust in television news, especially over the past year.

22% of conservatives currently have a healthy amount of confidence in TV news, compared to 20% for moderates and 19% for liberals. It doesn't matter if your channel of choice is Fox News or CNN or MSNBC - everybody is losing faith.

Moderates and liberals have historically had more faith than conservatives when it comes to TV news, but that trend halted in a big way this year. According to

"Liberals and moderates lost so much confidence in television news this year - 11 and 10 points, respectively - that their views are now more akin to conservatives' views."


It's no secret that the advent of the Internet has caused many to doubt what they are hearing on the news. With Twitter, Facebook and blogs, people can easily share their news and views. Details of current events can be relayed within seconds, and the traditional media has a much harder time ignoring stories or keeping them under wraps. First hand accounts and pictures from Syria and Egypt and Libya can be broadcast to the world within seconds, and this has changed everything. Twitter and Facebook and other social media applications have literally changed the world over the past couple of decades.

Thanks to these advances, many people will forego traditional media (TV stations, newspapers) and head straight to social media when they want to find out what is going on in the world. The dichotomy between what is actually going on in the world and what is being reported by the media has been exposed for the world to see, and this is likely the leading reason why American confidence in TV news has been so shaken over the past 20 years.

Source: - Americans' Confidence in Television News Drops to New Low

Filed under: General Knowledge

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