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I&I/TIPP Poll: Media Trust Took A Serious Beating In 2021

Americans' trust in the media is at an all-time low, ranking among the lowest in the world.


For the big media that dominate America's cultural and political life, 2021 was a dismal year when it comes to public trust. The prospects for 2022 are little better, as both the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, midterm elections and a growing problem with inflation loom. Year-end data from the I&I/TIPP Poll show little public optimism that the media will do a better job this year.

The data for the I&I/TIPP Poll Media Indexes stem from a survey of 1,301 adults, conducted online from Dec. 1-4 by TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, I&I’s polling partner. The poll’s margin of error is +/-2.8 percentage points.

I&I/TIPP has tracked public opinion on the media since March of 2021. For simplicity's sake, percentages have been converted to an index ranging from zero to 100, which makes for easy comparisons over time. Anything above 50 shows trust, below that, a lack of trust. 50 is neutral.

The year-end 2021 numbers tell a clear tale: The public became profoundly disappointed with the media's performance during 2021.

For example, the I&I/TIPP Traditional Media Trust Index has fallen 15% since its inception last March. That, despite a rebound of 4.5 points, or 11.6%, to 43.3 in December off the record low of 38.8 set in November. This index is made up of major media, such as the Washington Post, New York Times, NPR, CBS News, and so on.

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