Freedom of the press is an essential part of our democracy in the U.S., allowing citizens to access information about the government, news, and more to make informed decisions. Unfortunately, according to a recent report published by Gallup (Center) and the Knight Foundation, there is growing distrust of news outlets and accusations of media bias in today’s climate.
The survey, conducted in May–June 2022, found that a slight majority (55%) of Americans perceived “A great deal” of political bias in news coverage. This was reported as an all-time high, surpassing those that said the same in 2017 and 2019-2020 (45% and 46%, respectively).
While about eight in 10 Republicans said they see “a great deal” of political bias in news coverage, just over three in 10 Democrats said the same. Despite Democrats perceiving less bias in the news media, about half still said they see “a fair amount” of political bias in coverage.
Overall, those who said they are “very” or “somewhat favorable” of the news media in the U.S. today stands at an all-time low of 26%.
The report also found that there was a correlation between trust in national news organizations and perception of bias in news coverage. Republicans were much more likely to say they have “low trust,” while most Democrats had “high” or “moderate trust” in national news outlets.
Just 6% of Republicans and 37% of Democrats said they have “high trust” in national news organizations. An alarming 64% of Republicans said they have “low trust” while just 18% of Democrats said the same.
This division among Republicans and Democrats is stark, but it makes sense – AllSides found in December 2022 that of the 64 outlets on the Media Bias Chart, most website visits (57%) went to outlets rated as Left or Lean Left by AllSides. Just 23% of website visits went to outlets rated Right or Lean Right, and the remaining 20% went to outlets rated Center.
The report also highlighted some other striking statistics about national news outlets:
- 35% of Americans said they “can be relied on to deliver the information I need.”
- Just 23% of Americans said that outlets “care about the best interests of their readers, viewers, and listeners.”
- 50% of Americans said they believe national news organizations “intend to mislead, misinform, or persuade the public.”
Terms like misinformation, disinformation, and fake news have risen in popularity in the past few years. When asked about whether they feel confident enough to sort out facts from media bias when reading the news, half (50%) of Americans said “there is so much bias in the news media that it’s often difficult to sort out the facts.” Roughly 49% said “although there is some bias in the news media, there are enough sources of news to be able to sort out the facts.”
The good news: almost 70% of Americans believe that “national news organizations have the resources and opportunity to report the news accurately and fairly to the public.”
Unfortunately, there is much consensus among the American public that media bias exists, and that it is getting worse. At AllSides, we advocate for reading multiple sources of news to get a wider perspective of viewpoints on issues – you can do this by reading our balanced news and subscribing to our newsletters to get our best content straight to your inbox.
To view the full Gallup / Knight Foundation report, click here.
This piece was written by Andrew Weinzierl, AllSides’ Bias Research Manager & Data Journalist. He has a Lean Left bias.
This piece was reviewed by Managing Editor Henry A. Brechter (Center bias).