A free press is essential to holding governments accountable and informing the public, thus enabling voters to partake in political debate and make qualified decisions. However, an increasing number of Americans does not trust mass media organizations. According to an annual survey by Gallup carried out in September, the number of Americans saying that they trusted the media a great deal or a fair amount reached a low of 32 percent, comparable only to the result from 2016, the year of President Donald Trump's election. While sentiment against the media was running high that year as Trump during his campaign routinely accused the press of bias and lies, the share of Americans saying they had no trust at all in the media still stood at a comparatively low 27 percent. Since then, this share has been climbing, reaching a new high of 39 percent. Therefore, 2023 is arguably the year with the lowest recorded trust in U.S. media.
Gallup started its regular annual survey on media trust in 1997. It had asked the U.S. public the same question before in 1972, 1973 and 1974, receiving answers much more favorable of the media. Back then, around 70 percent of surveyed Americans said they trusted the media, while only between 4 percent and 8 percent said they had no trust in it at all.