If a record number of consumers have no trust in traditional media to report the truth, should marketers be worried? According to Gallup poll figures, well over half, 57%, of American consumers don’t believe what they hear on the news.  The newly released number is a record high. Marketers must wonder if consumer distrust will yield an audience that pays less attention to mass media and the ads that appear in these formats.

Gallup has regularly polled consumers on this topic. Its analysts say that only 43% of consumers have a great deal/fair amount of trust in sources like TV, radio and newspapers. In particular, analysts point out that consumers are skeptical of what they hear on TV or read in the newspaper. Here’s how the numbers break out:

  • Media are too liberal 48%
  • Media are just right 33%
  • Media are too conservative 15%

Not surprisingly, the survey revealed that liberals and Democrats trust the media more than conservatives and Republicans. The big worry is that 3 demographic subgroups have shown significant erosion in media trust during the past year:

  • Young adults between the ages of 18 and 29
  • Consumers who earn $75,000+ annually
  • College graduates

Gallup analysts say that overall consumer trust in government plummeted sharply this year and that, by comparison, media companies have fared relatively well. However, if consumers begin to shift their attention to other media formats that they deem to be more trustworthy, marketers will have to evaluate if they are allocating their ad budgets in the most effective way. Some marketers may decide that advertising in new venues will be  the best way to get their message out to engaged consumers
[Source: Morales, Lymari. Distrust in U.S. Media Edges Up to Record High. Gallup.com. 29 Sept. 2010. Web. 18 Oct. 2010]