Zogby Analytics recently asked voters how trustworthy the mainstream media is compared to four years ago, i.e., network news broadcasts NBC, ABC, CBS, and newspapers of record, the New York Times, LA Times and the Washington post. Overall, nearly half of voters (48%) found these media titans to be not trustworthy (very and somewhat trustworthy combined), while 45% of voters said they were trustworthy. This preference extends across a wide range of demographic groups (all age groups, race, income and those with and without college degree). But there are patterns where ideology, gender and approval/disapproval of the president impact results. A majority of men (52%) believe these institutions are not trustworthy, while 43% do trust them. As for women, a plurality (47%) believes the mainstream media is trustworthy compared to 44% who do not trust the traditional standard bearers of news and journalism.
Partisanship was also a determining factor when it came to how people viewed the "big six". Two thirds of democrats view the mainstream media as trustworthy, while 69% of republicans say the mainstream media is not trustworthy. The divide was also even more prevalent when it came to those who approve of President Trump versus those who disapprove of his job as president. Seven in ten Trump supporters polled view the mainstream media as not trustworthy, including half who say the "big six" are not trustworthy at all. Of the voters polled who disapprove of Trump, two thirds trust media outlets such as ABC, NBC, CBS and newspapers of record The New York Times, the LA Times, and the Washington Post.
It's no secret that since Donald Trump ascended to the presidency, he has gone to war with the mainstream media. He has been critical of their coverage of his candidacy and presidency. In fairness, the Trump administration has given them reason to question his actions at times. But what is obvious is the erosion in trust of the mainstream media, which did not happen when Trump announced his candidacy. People have been turning away from major newspapers and network news for years. With new technology available, people get information from many different sources these days. What's true is the partisan element the mainstream media has taken on in recent years, and that's reflected in our polling data and their bottom line.
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