Americans' confidence in the accuracy of the mass media has improved slightly after falling to an all-time low last year. Now, 44% say they have a great deal or fair amount of trust and confidence in the mass media, identical to 2011 but up from 40% in 2012, the lowest reading since Gallup regularly began tracking the question in 1997.
The latest results are based on Gallup's annual Governance survey, conducted Sept. 5-8. Americans have consistently been more distrusting than trusting of the media each year since 2007, in contrast with 1997 through 2003, when the slight majority expressed trust in the media.
This year's bump in confidence comes mainly from independents and Republicans, after these groups' trust in the media dropped last year amid a heated presidential election race in which Mitt Romney supporters may have felt their candidate was being treated unfairly. Democrats' confidence, however, has been inching up since 2011.
Consistent with Republicans' and independents' dissatisfaction with the media, far more Americans say the media are too liberal than too conservative, 46% vs. 13%, as was the case in 2011, and every year since Gallup has been tracking this trend. Thirty-seven percent currently describe the media's political leanings as "just about right."