Poll: Half of Americans Believe News Outlets Mislead

February 15, 2023

Half of Americans believe national news organizations are out to mislead, misinform or persuade the public to adopt a certain viewpoint, according to a poll released Wednesday by Gallup and the Knight Foundation.

The poll expresses perhaps the largest percentage yet of Americans who believe mainstream news outlets intend to mislead. 

The poll asked whether national news organizations do not intend to mislead. Only 25% agreed that they don’t while 50% disagreed, believing that they do intend to mislead.

Further, 52% of those polled disagreed with the statement that national news outlets “care about the best interests of their readers, viewers and listeners.” Only 23% believed national news outlets acted in the public’s best interests. 

However, more than twice as many Americans—44%—have higher emotional trust in local news than in national news, according to the poll. That’s compared to just 21% who trust national news over local news. 

“Higher emotional trust in local news is related to a higher likelihood of having paid for news and willingness to do so in the future,” according a statement regarding the poll released by the Knight Foundation.

The internet may have a lot to do with this. According to the poll, 61% believe factors like the rapid pace of the news cycle and an increased number of news sources make it harder to stay informed. That’s versus 37% who said these factors made it easier. 

In fact, 58% of those polled—including 88% of Generation Z—said they get their news online versus 31% who said television, 7% who said radio and a mere 3% who said printed newspapers or magazines.

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