Americans regaining confidence (slightly) in newspapers and TV news

Joe Pompeo
Media Reporter
The Cutline

U.S. voters may not have much faith in a reporter's ability to deliver the news without injecting any political bias, but they do appear to be regaining faith in two traditional news formats.

Americans this year are ever-s0-slightly more confident in newspapers and television news than they were in 2010, with 28 and 27 percent of respondents, respectively, in a new poll expressing "a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in" the platforms, according to Gallup's annual institutional confidence survey, released on Monday. That's up from 25 percent and 22 percent in 2009, and from a 17-year low in 2007, when a mere 23 and 22 percent of Americans trusted their daily broadsheets and newscasts.

The bad news for traditional media is that these figures are still down sharply from where they were in the early '90s and at the turn of the millennium. Over the two decades that Gallup has been conducting the poll, newspapers saw the most confidence in 1990 (39 percent) and 2000 (37 percent); TV news in 1993 (46 percent) and 2000 (36 percent).

"While the improvement for each is small in absolute terms, it could mark the beginning of the reversal of the trend seen in recent years," wrote Gallup's Lymari Morales in announcing the results.

Overall, newspapers and TV news ranked 10th and 11th on the list of 16 American institutions Gallup assessed for confidence levels, placing consecutively behind the military, small business, the police, organized religion, the medical system, the Supreme Court, the presidency, public schools and the justice system. They beat banks, organized labor, big business, HMOs and, last of all, Congress.