Gallup: 86% of Americans believe the media is biased

by Joel Abbott · Sep 11th, 2020 2:11 pm

Last Updated Sep 12th, 2020 at 12:21 pm

A new poll from Gallup and the Knight Foundation has found that the vast majority of Americans believe the media is biased.

As part of an initiative by the Knight Foundation to "address the decline in trust for journalism and other democratic institutions," the poll found that 86% of respondents believed the media is biased. The poll asked a number of other questions regarding American's perceptions of the media, with a number of key statistics standing out:

  • Americans "still value the media's traditional roles in society," with 84% of respondents saying the news media is "critical" or "very important."
  • 56% of respondents say they see at least "a fair amount" of bias in their news source of choice, but 69% believe are more concerned about bias in other people's news than their own (29%).
  • 73% said too much media bias is "a major problem."
  • 79% believe news organizations they mistrust are trying to push specific viewpoints.
  • Older Americans are more likely to favor the media: 44% of those 65 and older held a favorable view, compared to 19% of those under 30.
  • 78% said misinformation is a "major problem," and more than 63% felt overwhelmed because of the volume and pace of the news and the increased number of media companies.
  • In response to feeling overwhelmed, 41% of Americans only follow one or two trusted sources, 31% compare a variety of sources, 17% have stopped following the news entirely, and 8% rely on other people to tell them what news they should know.

The largest difference in opinions of the media is seen between political lines: 71% of Republicans have an unfavorable view of the media, compared to 22% of Democrats and 52% of Independents. Of Republicans, 61% said they believe attacks on the media are justified, and 70% of Democrats believe they are unjustified.

The Knight Foundation said that the data was collected between November 8, 2019, and February 16, 2020, before COVID-19 was a global pandemic.

"The low levels of public trust in the nation's polarized media environment have left open the possibility for dangerous false narratives to take root in all segments of society during these emergent crises," the foundation said. "At a time when factual, trustworthy information is especially critical to public health and the future of our democracy, the striking trends documented in these pages are cause for concern."


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