Trust in media is lower in the United States than any other place in the world, according to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2022, a global study released in June.
Finland has the highest level of trust at 69%, while the U.S. has fallen three percentage points to 26%, the study notes.
In addition, people are less interested in news in general. In the U.S., 47% say they are interested, which is down from 67% in 2015. Of a selected group of countries, only the UK fares worse, with interest dropping from 70% in 2015 to 43%.
And many actively avoid the news, including 42% of respondents in the U.S. That’s up from 41% in 2019 and 38% from 2017, spanning the Trump years and the pandemic.
But Brazil tops the list in terms of news avoidance, with 54%, up from 34% in 2019 and 27% in 2017. The average among all countries is 38%, up from 29% in 2017.
The reasons for news avoidance vary with the person’s political outlook. In the U.S., 65% of those on the right feel the news is untrustworthy or biased, versus 20% of those on the left.
Also, 49% of respondents on the right feel there is too much news on COVID-19 and politics, compared to 23% on the left.
Lefties are more likely than righties to avoid news because it brings down their mood—57% as compared to 54%.
In the U.S., only 39% of left-leaniing readers trust most news most of the time. But that’s up from 35% in 2015. In contrast, only 14% of right-wing readers trust the news, down from 25% in 2015.
Older readers are more likely to think journalists should stick to reporting the news on social media and not insert their political views:
In contrast, younger groups are more accepting of opinions, saying reporters should be able to express their personal opinions alongside reporting the news:
In the U.S. overall, 51% feel journalists should stick to the news. Europe has similar numbers, but only 28% in Brazil agree, along with 27% in Japan.
Meanwhile, a relatively flat number of consumers are paying for content via online subscriptions. Across 20 countries, 17% are paying, the same as last year. In the U.S., that figure is 19%.
In Norway, 41% of readers are paying, along with 33% in Sweden.
The poorest showing is in the U.K., where 9% have paid for subscriptions.
The study was commissioned by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, and conducted by YouGov at the end of January/beginning of February 2022. YouGov surveyed consumers worldwide, including 2,036 in the U.S.