Majority of Americans Distrust Media, Perceive Bias

By Steve Gigliotti
Steve Gigliotti
Steve Gigliotti
October 6, 2011 Updated: October 1, 2015
Television cameramen film in a broadcast studio in this file photo. A recent Gallup poll found that more than half of Americans surveyed do not trust the media. (Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Images)
Television cameramen film in a broadcast studio in this file photo. A recent Gallup poll found that more than half of Americans surveyed do not trust the media. (Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Images)

A recent poll found that the majority of Americans distrust the media. Fifty-five percent of Americans have little or no trust in the media, according to the poll run by Gallup.

The poll also found that party affiliation and ideology have a significant effect on the way people view the media.

Twenty percent of the Democrats surveyed found the media to be too liberal, compared to 50 percent of Independents and 75 percent of Republicans.

Fifty-seven percent of Democrats found it to be just right, and only 20 percent found the media to be too conservative. Thirty-two percent of Independents and only 20 percent of Republicans found it to be just right. Only 4 percent of Republicans found the media to be too conservative.

The ownership of news corporations may explain these different views. General Electric, among its many businesses, holds a major interest in the media by owning NBC and MSNBC. A liberal bias may be tied to the company’s President and CEO Jeffrey Immelt, who in 2009 was appointed by President Barrack Obama to the president’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

Conversely, the Murdoch-owned Fox News is often associated with its conservative bias.

Fox News commentator Bernard Goldberg, who wrote the New York Times best seller "A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News" in 2001, is an outspoken critic of the media. He says the media has a strong liberal slant and has lost its objectivity.

Others believe that it is the corporate interests of news organizations that can limit or slant the news. For example, a 2007 article in the New York Times linked Murdoch’s close business ties in China with his unwillingness to report on issues considered sensitive to the Chinese government.

“The News Corporation’s competitors in television and film, the Walt Disney Company, Viacom, and Time Warner, also had to accommodate Chinese demands as the price of admission to the local market,” the article went on the say.

Overall, the Gallup survey results are consistent with last year’s findings that 55 percent of Americans had little or no trust in the media and 60 percent believed the media was biased.

Steve Gigliotti
Steve Gigliotti