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US distrust in news media hits new high

06:00 AEST Sun Sep 23 2012
AAP
A record 60 per cent of US citizens have little or no trust in the country's news media
A record 60 per cent of US citizens have little or no trust in the country's news media (Thinkstock)

A US Gallup poll shows a record 60 per cent of Americans have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly.

The poll showed distrust is up from the past few years, and has been rising since 2004.

The record distrust in the media, based on a survey conducted from September 6-9, means that negativity toward the media is at an all-time high for a presidential election year.

The gap between negative and positive views - 20 percentage points - is by far the biggest Gallup has recorded since it began asking the question in the 1990s.

Gallup said trust in the media was much higher, and more positive than negative, in the years prior to 2004, and was as high as 72 per cent in the 1970s.

The rise in negative sentiment toward media has been driven by people identifying themselves as Republicans and independents, the poll showed.

The poll showed just 26 per cent of Republicans and 31 per cent of independents and Republicans expressed confidence in newspapers, radio and television to fairly and accurately report the news.

While the Republican figure is similar to 2008, Gallup said independents are sharply more negative compared with 2008, suggesting the group that is most closely divided between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney is dissatisfied with coverage of this election.

Among Democrats, 58 per cent expressed confidence in the media, up slightly from last year.

Gallup said 39 per cent of those polled said they are paying close attention to news coverage, up from last year but down from 43 per cent in September 2008, ahead of the last presidential election.

Results are based on telephone interviews of 1,017 adults across the United States, with a margin of error of four percentage points.

A Gallup survey last year showed a majority of Americans viewed the media as biased, with 47 per cent saying news outlets are too liberal and 13 per cent saying they are too conservative.

AFP r