Partisan divides in media trust widen, driven by a decline among Republicans

By Jeffrey Gottfried and Jacob Liedke, Pew Research Center |

In just five years, the percentage of Republicans with at least some trust in national news organizations has been cut in half – dropping from 70% in 2016 to 35% this year. This decline is fueling the continued widening of the partisan gap in trust of the media.

Nearly eight-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (78%) say they have “a lot” or “some” trust in the information that comes from national news organizations – 43 percentage points higher than Republicans and Republican leaners (35%) – according to a new Pew Research Center survey conducted June 14-27, 2021. This partisan gap is the largest of any time that this question has been asked since 2016. And it grows even wider – to 53 points – between liberal Democrats (83%) and conservative Republicans (30%). …

Americans tend to have greater trust in local news organizations – though there is somewhat of a decline here as well. A large majority of Americans (75%) still say they have at least some trust in the information that comes from local news organizations, modestly lower than the shares who said the same in 2016 (82%) and in late 2019 (79%). And again, far fewer express the highest level of trust (18%).

A similar partisan divide emerges when it comes to local news, though to a lesser extent. As of June 2021, Democrats are 18 percentage points more likely than Republicans to have at least some trust in the information that comes from local news organizations (84% vs. 66%, respectively) – a gap that is again larger than at any time in recent years. Five years ago, 85% of Democrats had at least some trust in local news organizations, while 79% of Republicans did.

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