Structural and Political Correlates of Trust and Confidence in the Media


Lee B. Becker, Cynthia English and Tudor Vlad


In the United States, confidence in the media has dramatically declined over the years with only a slight uptick in 2011, according to surveys conducted by Gallup (Morales, 2011). In the most recent survey, only 28% of the population expressed confidence in newspapers, and 27% expressed confidence in television news. By comparison, 78% of the population expressed confidence in the military, and 64% in small business (Jones, 2011). The suggestion is that evaluation of the media is a summary assessment that citizens make that is not wholly under the control of the media themselves. This paper draws on two unique data sets to test that expectation.

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