The poll suggests only 21 per cent of Americans have confidence in television news, one point below last year's finding and down 25 points from Gallup's original research in 1963. Confidence in newspapers dropped to 25 per cent this year, down from 28 per cent last year and half of the 50-per-cent confidence rate of 1980.
Interestingly, those who identify themselves as liberals were among those whose confidence most declined, rivaling low-confidence levels by those who identify themselves as conservatives.
Gallup could not conclude why television news confidence dropped as it did, but noted the poll was taken before recent cable news mishaps involving the Supreme Court decision on health care legislation --- meaning, the results might even be lower today.
Gallup suggests all networks "will have to renew their efforts to show Americans that they deserve a higher level of confidence than what they enjoy today."
Among the 16 institutions Gallup studied, confidence in newspapers ranked tenth and television news eleventh. The military, small business, the police, organized religion, the medical system, the presidency, the Supreme Court, public schools and the justice system ranked ahead of them. Only organized labour, banks, big business, health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and Congress ranked lower.