Most Trust Media, At Least A Bit

President Bush answers a question during a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House, Tuesday, May 31, 2005, in Washington. Bush is keeping his second-term pledge to hold at least one major news conference each month. He was squeezing one in on Tuesday, the last day of May. ( AP

A majority of Americans have at least a fair amount of trust and confidence in the news media, although relatively few express a great deal of confidence in the institution, a CBS News/New York Times poll has found. Still, most think the stories the news media report are generally accurate, and that the news media generally tell the truth (something many think the administration does not do).

And while the relationship between the White House and the news media has been contentious at times, nearly half say the news media have treated George W. Bush the same as they have other presidents.

Read the full CBS News/New York Times poll (.pdf)

Trust, Confidence And Accuracy

Sixty-three percent of those polled have at least a fair amount of trust and confidence in the news media. This includes just 15 percent, who say they have a great deal of confidence in the media.


How much confidence do you have in the news media?

A great deal
15 percent

A fair amount
48 percent

Not very much / None
36 percent

This level of confidence in the media is higher than it has been in recent years. In September, 2005, a Gallup Poll found that 50 percent of Americans had a great deal or fair amount of confidence in the media. And in September, 2004, during the hard-fought presidential race, when the media were under a great deal of criticism, just 44 percent had a great deal or fair amount of confidence in the media.


The stories in the news media are:

Accurate
69 percent

Inaccurate
22 percent

Americans younger than age 45 are more likely than those older than 45 to say stories by the media are accurate. And more Democrats and Independents than Republicans say the news media's stories are accurate.


The Media And The President

Forty-five percent of respondents say the news media have treated George W. Bush the same as other Presidents. Thirty-five percent say they have been harder on Bush, while 18 percent say the news media have been easier on him.

Compared to other presidents, the news media have been:

Harder on President Bush
35 percent

Easier on President Bush
18 percent

Treating President Bush the same
45 percent

Republicans are more than five times as likely as Democrats to say the news media have been harder on George W. Bush compared to other presidents.


How often do the News Media tell the truth?

Always / Most of the time
59 percent

Sometimes / Hardly ever
40 percent


How often does the Bush Administration tell the truth?

Always / Most of the time
39 percent

Sometimes / Hardly ever
59 percent

As expected, views on whether the Bush Administration tells the truth break down along party and ideological lines. Majorities of Republicans and conservatives say the administration is truthful all or most of the time, while most Democrats and liberals hold the opposing view. Also, the president is not extremely popular right now; his approval rating is at a low 42 percent.




This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 1229 adults, interviewed by telephone January 20-25, 2006. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points.

For detailed information on how CBS News conducts public opinion surveys, click here.

  • Christine Lagorio

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