Americans’ faith in each of three major news media platforms — television news, newspapers and news on the Internet — is at or tied with record lows in Gallup’s long-standing confidence in institutions trend. This continues a decades-long decline in the share of Americans saying they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in newspapers or TV news, while trust in Internet news remains low since the one prior measure in 1999.
These results are from a Gallup poll conducted June 5-8.The three major sources of news ranked in the bottom third of 17 different U.S. institutions measured in the poll.
Confidence in newspapers has declined by more than half since its 1979 peak of 51 percent, while TV news has seen confidence ebb from its high of 46 percent in 1993, the first year that Gallup asked this question. Gallup’s only previous measure of Internet news was in 1999, when confidence was 21 percent, little different from today.
It is bizarre that anyone ever had “faith” in any manmade institution, though. Those numbers should probably have always been at zero. So they are still too high.
The saying attributed to Edgar Allan Poe, “Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear,” comes to mind. He was probably too optimistic.
Lest anyone feel sorry for members of the media, reflect upon the fact that the 535 members of the Congress of the United States are now trusted in the single-digit range of the population. It is tempting to say that the people who still have faith in any member of Congress also have single-digit IQs, if that were possible.
We should only have faith in God. Even then, we should be careful not to have faith in what some random preacher of whatever religion tells us to believe about God. Speaking of that, Gallup and other organizations have been reporting in recent years that even God is not polling as well as He used to in this country. Of course, this may have to do with some of those polled mistaking God for some preacher who claimed to speak for Him.
All of this leads to the ultimate question: Do polling organizations ever do polls on whether people have “faith” in pollsters?
Ask “President Romney” how much “faith” he now has in Gallup polls.