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Congress' approval rating lowest of any institution on record, news industry not far behind

According to Gallup, “Americans’ confidence in Congress as an institution is down to 10%, ranking the legislative body last on a list of 16 societal institutions for the fourth straight year. This is the lowest level of confidence Gallup has found, not only for Congress, but for any institution on record.” They began tracking in 1973. “Americans remain most confident in the military, at 76%,” Gallup added.

Although we have grown accustomed to having very little confidence in our federal legislative bodies, that has not always been the case. Americans in the 1970s trusted Congress at roughly the same level they trust churches or organized religion today.

Typically Party affiliation has had a bearing on how individuals view Congress. Today, both Democrats and Republicans hold Congress in equally low esteem. Gallup points out that this “likely reflects the split control of Congress.

Americans also have little trust in the newspapers who are supposed to be holding our elected leaders accountable.

…And television news is not fairing any better.

Gallup believes that “social sites and the Internet in general, as well as the 24/7 television news cycle, have challenged traditional media outlets and brought new ones to the fore, creating an increasingly complex — and sometimes messy — news environment. While individual news consumers have better access to news and to journalists than ever before, the struggles of the news industry seem to be affecting Americans’ confidence in it.


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