by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The American public’s faith in journalism is at an all-time low, according to the results of a recent Gallup survey in which just 19 percent of respondents gave journalists a “high” or “very high” rating for “honesty and ethical standards.”
The historic decline was driven by the fact that even partisan Democrats are starting to lose faith in the partisan Democrats who comprise the mainstream media. Just 34 percent of Democrats rated journalists highly in terms of honesty and ethical standards, according to the survey, down from a high of 54 percent during the Trump administration in 2018.
Democrats are still far more likely to give journalists high marks on honesty and ethics. Just 17 percent of independents and 8 percent of Republicans offered similar ratings in the survey, which asked respondents to rate the honesty and ethical standards of nearly two dozen professions. Nurses received the best marks, with 78 percent of respondents rating them positively. Journalists were rated well below doctors (56 percent), police officers (45 percent), and college teachers (42 percent), but slightly better than lawyers (16 percent), car salesmen (8 percent), and members of Congress (6 percent).
The survey results were in line with those from another Gallup survey published in October, when just 32 percent of respondents said they had at least “a fair amount” of trust in the media to report the news “fully, accurately and fairly.” That figure tied the lowest on record since Gallup began measuring public trust in media back in 1972, and while 58 percent of Democrats reported at least some trust in the media, it marked a significant decline from the 76 percent of Democrats who said the same in 2018.
Americans who aren’t partisan Democrats have long abandoned their faith in the mainstream media.