Gallup Poll: Only 21 Percent of Americans Trust Newspapers

We have been discussing the rapid decline of American journalism. As news organizations adopt echo and advocacy journalism as models, the public has lost faith in the media as a source of information. This is coming at a time when journalism professors are arguing for the abandonment of objectivity as the touchstone of the journalism. The result is the death of American journalism as reporters frame the news to reaffirm their own views or that of insular groups. That decline is reflected in chilling detail in a new Gallup poll.

The poll found only 21% of respondents said they had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in newspapers while only 16% of respondents reported the same of television news. Not surprising, Congress fared even worse with just 12%.

What is interesting is that media figures do not appear to care about their destruction of their own profession. The public now ranks the United States as dead last in terms of trust in the media. Yet, reporters continue to saw on the limb upon they sit. The reason is that such echo journalism works for them even if it destroys their profession.  Many journalists have advanced on the new model of advocacy journalism. Many others have been intimidated by the treatment of those who have voiced dissenting views.  They are not going to stick their heads up when others have been decapitated for speaking up.

Cable networks has always leaned left or right. However, now networks and newspapers are openly biased in framing their coverage. With the reduction of faith in the media plunging downward, these companies could see the value in returning to objectivity and neutrality. The problem is that the journalists themselves are now asserting advocacy journalism as a moral or normative imperative — and few editors will risk confronting such bias even if they were inclined to do so.

We have have been discussing how writerseditorscommentators, and academics have embraced rising calls for censorship and speech controls, including President-elect Joe Biden and his key advisers. Even journalists are leading attacks on free speech and the free press.  This includes academics rejecting the very concept of objectivity in journalism in favor of open advocacy. Columbia Journalism Dean and New Yorker writer Steve Coll has denounced how the First Amendment right to freedom of speech was being “weaponized” to protect disinformation. In an interview with The Stanford Daily, Stanford journalism professor, Ted Glasser, insisted that journalism needed to “free itself from this notion of objectivity to develop a sense of social justice.” He rejected the notion that the journalism is based on objectivity and said that he views “journalists as activists because journalism at its best — and indeed history at its best — is all about morality.”  Thus, “Journalists need to be overt and candid advocates for social justice, and it’s hard to do that under the constraints of objectivity.”

What is interesting is that this fundamental challenge to journalistic values is not being widely discussed. For those of us who have worked for decades as columnists and in the media, the growing intolerance for dissenting views is stifling and alarming.  Hannah-Jones has been a leading voice in attacking those with opposing views. A year ago, the New York Times denounced its own publishing of an editorial of Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) calling for the use of the troops to restore order in Washington after days of rioting around the White House.  It was one of the one of the lowest points in the history of modern American journalism. While Congress would “call in the troops” six months later to quell the rioting at the Capitol on January 6th, New York Times reporters and columnists called the column historically inaccurate and politically inciteful. Reporters insisted that Cotton was even endangering them by suggesting the use of troops and insisted that the newspaper cannot feature people who advocate political violence. (One year later, the New York Times published a column by an academic who has previously declared that there is nothing wrong with murdering conservatives and Republicans).

Critics never explained what was historically false (or outside the range of permissible interpretation) in the column. Moreover, writers Taylor Lorenz, Caity Weaver, Sheera Frankel, Jacey Fortin, and others said that such columns put black reporters in danger and condemned publishing Cotton’s viewpoint. In a breathtaking surrender, the newspaper apologized and not only promised an investigation in how such an opposing view could find itself on its pages but promised to reduce the number of editorials in the future.

One of the writers who condemned the decision to publish Cotton was Nikole Hannah-Jones.  Hannah-Jones applauded the decision of the Times to apologize for publishing such an opposing viewpoint and denounced those who engage in what she called “even-handedness, both sideism” journalism. Opinion editor James Bennet was rustled out to make a pleading apology. That however was not enough. He was later compelled to resign.  Not only has Hannah-Jones spread bizarre anti-police conspiracy theories, but she is one of the most prominent figures pushing the advocacy journalistic model. Nevertheless, she was offered a chair at North Carolina and accepted a chair at Howard University.

My greatest concern is this trend in academia. It is enormously popular for faculty to support the new model of advocacy journalism. It leads to publication and speaking opportunities. It is a type of woke journalism.  To oppose it is to risk your own standing as an academic and the opportunities that allow you to be intellectually active.  So the downward spiral continues. The media becomes more and more openly biased as new reporters are trained as advocates. The fact that fewer and fewer people are reading such reporting is immaterial. Eventually, if this trend continues, the media will be reduced to speaking to itself and small groups of ideologically hardened readers.


52 thoughts on “Gallup Poll: Only 21 Percent of Americans Trust Newspapers”

  1. @enigmainblackcom

    If Whites are so incorrigibly and hopelessly racist, why don’t you want separation – to be away from us? The reason you don’t is that without Whites, Black America would be akin to Haiti. You need us, we really don’t need you. And deep down inside you know this.

    For whatever it is worth, I am Hispanic and can assure you that the Hispanic dominated society of 2070 will not tolerate black shenanigans.


    1. My favorite is “Latinx.”

      Here you have “progressives” posing as saviors, yet they try to impose a word with no Spanish existence. Not only that, but every Spanish noun takes either the masculine or feminine gender. In their zeal to impose their “genderless” fantasy, they’ve decided that the first language of 50+ million Americans is inferior to Progressive English. It won’t end well.

  2. I didn’t realize that 79% of the American people are actually ‘nazis’. No wonder we need to doxx, destroy and force them to comply.


  3. A free press is the cornerstone of our democracy. Looks like we’re in trouble.

  4. Journalism schools should require a minor, or prior degree in a STEM field. The scientific method has a great deal to teach young aspiring journalists about truth-seeking as a process with its own set of rules. In particular, it teaches the value of the surprising observation, an oddity that calls into question what the many believe. In journalism, the most important habit of truth-seeking is to have antennas out for the counter-narrative event, and to report on it. This is the way to prevent the gradual erection of unassailable fictional narratives.

    To the journalism school academics, “counter-narrative” is a propaganda campaign that your adversary runs to undermine the conventional wisdom. It is not what you yourself have a responsibility to do when the objective truth collides with your own favored narrative. There is a decided lack of responsibility in always looking to “the other” to slay sacred cows — it becomes a sheltered, defensive crouch.

    There are exceptional journalists who thrive on discovering the unexpected, and reporting on it no matter what the blowback. These are the ones like Bari Weiss and Glenn Greenwald who are working to preserve their craft in an age of stifling, self-righteous conformity.

            1. You are worried what Fox might pay Turley, but you aren’t worried about what Biden and his family gained from Biden’s political influence? $500,000 for a painting, money from Ukraine, Russia, China etc. all related to influence peddling. Are you buying Biden’s story about being the poorest man in Congress?

              1. I don’t care what amount Turley gets paid. At least you acknowledge he actually gets paid by Fox. None of his lambasts against the media include Fox, or The Hill, or anywhere else he works. He blasts the media from the middle to the left but ignores the right-wing media which actually causes deaths among its own followers.

                1. “I don’t care what amount Turley gets paid.

                  Does that take you off the hook for not caring about Biden using his political influence for gain? No.

                  If you look close you will see he “blasts” any media that impinges on the freedom of speech. Many in the Democrat Party used to support freedom of speech, but now that they have power, they wish to rid their opponents of freedom of speech. That makes Democrats the biggest hypocrites over the last decade or so. However, that type of action is typical of the left, Nazism, Stalinism and Maoism.

                  Don’t be so narrow-minded Enigma. Put politics aside for a moment and actually read what Turley is saying. You are smarter than most of the leftists on this blog. Act it.

        1. “B: He spends much of his time discrediting most of the media he doesn’t work for.”

          And this is a problem how? The media have discredited themselves by revealing what they are. Turley provides a public service by attempting to help mixed up people like you see the light.

    1. Enigma, how would Turley be part of the problem? His voice encouraged diversity of opinion and also represented an additional viewpoint. It didn’t conform to the ideas that have destroyed the integrity of the news media.

      If there were more diverse voices like his, the news media wouldn’t be held in such low esteem.

      Your comment didn’t make sense.

    2. Turley is actually part of the solution. You have it entirely bassackwards in your mixed up mind.

        1. For the most part Turley interprets laws. If you have a better way to interpret them that will be used equally for all, let us know.

  5. Surprised it is that high.
    Alt-media is where I get most of my news. Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss, Sharyl Attkisson, Charles H. Smith and others are much better journalists (Smith is an economist) than most of MSM.
    And there is Professor Turley and his commentary. Funny thing is I think more of MSM is afraid (or envious) of the Professor’s presence as he has more credibility. Given a choice between the Professor’s opinion and MSM “truth,” I would take the former and dismiss the latter.

  6. Over the two decades I have disposed of my fulltime subscriptions to the NYT and Washington Post. The Post was never that great of a newspaper and clearly a long time arm of the democratic party. But there was some semblance of fairness and some decent writing. It is now an abomination. I still get the Sunday edition (yes i am a masochist) and for the most part all articles are written through the lens of one of the newspaper’s favorite policy agenda. Issues of race grievance and sexual politics pervade almost every single article. Columnists like Milbank are beyond contempt. Fr the most part the writing is pathetic other than that of the restaurant critic and the weather reporters. The NYT is altogether in another league of perniciousness. It is a virulently Anti-American and yes anti-Semitic newspaper. I cancelled well more than a decade ago after it revealed the details of the SWIFT program which was designed to track financing of terrorism. They printed the story only because they could. Even the execrable Pelosi objected. The NYT lost whatever credibility it had after the departure of Rosenthal. It is truly a hateful vehicle of malign propaganda. Trump was correct in regard to the NYT: They are the enemy of the people

  7. Why is anyone surprised?

    The media lies and every thinking person knows it (even silly people like MollyG and Natacha know that they are being lied to).

    Media consumers are like the lonely guy watching porn; they get a version of reality that satisfies their fantasies, but bears little resemblance to the truth.

    And today’s journalists cynically play the game because those dumb consumers pay them good money.

    Kind of pathetic watching people pay to be lied to.

    Many of the posters here have identified honest journalists and subscribe to them. Let’s hope that some of the Lefty bloggers here get smarter.

      1. WSJ’s woke news side (and its crybabies complaining about the opinion side) is main reason we dropped our decades-old subscription.

  8. Seems a little high for the reliability of the news aspect. Maybe they mean trust them for trash can liners. I use ’em for crab table covers and they work great!!

  9. Some words:. “Journalism”, “Free Press”, “Fair and balanced”, “Freedom of the press”.
    Much of the media is on tv or computers. “Press”? Printing?
    “Free”. Always a fee for a paper and fees for tv and websites.
    “Fair”? Yeah as in animal fair.
    “Balanced”? Yeah like can’t stand up straight so it falls on all sides.

    Pulitzer would be disgusted with the apCray we have today.

  10. I have not seen the poll questions, but I suspect poll respondents would show a great deal of trust in their preferred newspaper or TV channel. You see, one preferred media sources are likely to be viewed reverentially.

    A media outlet need not be concerned because it might have a loyal following. If an outlet begins to move away from advocacy journalism, then it could risk losing its following. The only solution is for new objective media to come online.

    1. Yep, come online so you can be blocked from Google searches and Facebook/Twitter links. That’ll work!!!

    2. You see, one preferred media sources are likely to be viewed reverentially.

      I thought the same thing, when I read it. Just like Congress far upside down on approval, but incumbents are very hard to take out. Because my congress critter is great, it s the other 500 that are lousy. A lot of that is the power of the party. The party hates primaries, and almost always pushes the incumbent.

  11. Why has corporate American journalism taken this road? Why would these organizations deliberately tell half truths or make up stories from thin air?

    I have dropped my newspaper subscription and now rarely watch network or cable news. I miss my morning newspaper ritual. How can they be trusted? Fool me once….Will journalists eventually figure out that fewer readers will mean a smaller paycheck?

    1. Only thing objective today are box scores, race results, and the stock market, and I’m beginning to question that.. Just like Hunter said years ago. “With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.” (Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72)

  12. 79% of the American public don’t trust newspapers.

    What happened to those on the left that help populate this blog?

    1. Yesterday I was having a conversation about the Texas election law bill and a friend used an NPR article to support his argument and I stated that “NPR is not an unbiased source” and the reply back from someone else was…

      “NPR is absolutely unbiased”

      …and then the person then shared a link to a chart to support his claim. I’d seen these charts before and my reply was…

      “You’re welcome to your opinion on NPR; however you’re not welcome to your own facts.”

      …and then destroyed his argument that NPR is unbiased with actual proof using facts from the NPR article that my friend had shared earlier in the conversation. Then I wrote this about the chart…

      “Any chart that rates The New York Times as being unbiased and one of the most reliable sources of fact reporting is itself terribly, terribly biased. The New York Times pulled their false journalism facade away after the 2016 election and has shown the world that they are a Pravda like propaganda machine in bed with the extreme political left.

      Don’t fall into the trap of believing things like that chart, it’s pure propaganda kinda like the Washington Post’s list that’s touted as a list of Trump’s 30,000+ lies, pure propaganda.”

      …the reply I got back was…

      “Where do you get your unbiased news?”

      …I replied…

      “First of all there is no such thing as ‘unbiased news’ in the 21st century and the sooner people fully understand that the better off our country will be.

      In general I get my news from ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NYT, WSJ, AP, Newsmax, OANN, and Local News Papers. Personally I don’t pay attention to or give credence to the pure opinion shows and articles, just the news and then I verify things like actually reading bills, and getting actual quotes instead of cherry picked words, etc.”

      The serious deterioration of journalism began after the turn of the century and was kicked into a higher gear in 2008, by the time 2016 rolled around journalism and the media in general had devolved into nothing but partisan propaganda machines.

  13. The examples abound. Texas voter laws? more liberal than many Dem controled states, and more liberal than TEXAS LAW. Yep the new law provides more voting access than the law it would replace.
    Why cant we examine natural immunity? Never a question to the “experts” about the new varients and natural immunity.
    Covid sourced at a wuhan lab? Debunked when President Trump was in office, but now is the most logical. But we never know exactly how the theory was “debunked” originally.

    And the quoting of a poll is just as bad. Polls are commissioned by a customer that is seeking to validated an agenda. The exception is candidate tracking polls, paid for by the candidate that must be as accurate as possible or they are out of business.

  14. Trust and confidence always drop when you mislead your readers/viewers. One viewpoint is not THE viewpoint.

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