Some 60 per cent of Americans surveyed said they had little or no trust in the mass media to report accurately, fairly or fully. There has been a slow rate of growth in the level of distrust in the last decade from a rate in the mid- to high-forties. Trust in the media was more positive than negative until 2004.
Gallup notes the pattern in presidential election years for media distrust to peak. Republicans most distrust the media, but more than half of Independents do, too. Democrats are more trusting. While Americans pay more attention to political news in an election year, Gallup notes they are paying less attention in 2012 than they did in 2008.
The poll was conducted in early September.
"On a broad level, Americans' high level of distrust in the media poses a challenge to democracy and to creating a fully engaged citizenry," Gallup concludes. "Media sources must clearly do more to earn the trust of Americans, the majority of whom see the media as biased one way or the other. At the same time, there is an opportunity for others outside the 'mass media' to serve as information sources that Americans do trust."
Romenesko.com has a strong analysis of the findings here.