A Gallup survey of 1,017 adults conducted between September 8-11, 2011 found “the majority of Americans still do not have confidence in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly.” The results mirror Gallup surveys conducted annually since 2001, polls which have consistently found roughly three times as many Americans say the media have a pro-liberal bias rather than a pro-conservative bias. An earlier Gallup poll, conducted between June 9-12, 2011, found that barely a quarter of Americans expressed substantial confidence in either newspapers or television news, putting them near the bottom of a list of national institutions.
As they have since 2001, the public detected liberal bias by a nearly three-to-one margin: “The majority of Americans (60%) also continue to perceive bias, with 47% saying the media are too liberal and 13% saying they are too conservative.”
Those results are virtually identical to what Gallup found when it asked the same question in 2010, when 48% said the media tilted in favor of liberals, vs. 15% who saw a pro-conservative bias.
A majority of Americans (55%) said they had “little or no trust” in the press, compared to a record-high 57% who felt that way in 2010.
Over the past decade, the percentage seeing the media as having a liberal bias has stayed in a consistent range, between 44% and 48% of the public.
An earlier Gallup survey, conducted in June 2011, found that the public’s “confidence” in newspapers and television was far below that of other institutions such as the military, the police and organized religion.
Barely a quarter of respondents said they had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in newspapers and television news (28% and 27%, respectively), vs. majorities who said they had such confidence in the military (78%), small business (64%) and the police (56%). Nearly half (48%) said they had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in “the church or organized religion.”
While the public’s confidence in newspapers and television is higher than it was in 2010, Gallup found that it “still lags significantly behind the levels of trust seen through much of the 1990s and into 2003.”