Distrust In US Media Hits Record High, As CNBC (And Especially Mad Money) Viewership Drops To Multi-Year Low

Tyler Durden's picture

In today's "less than surprising data point" category, the clear winner is Gallup's analysis of people's ever increasing distrust in the mass media. From 46% in 1998, the percentage of people who indicate they have "not very much/none at all" trust in mass media has grown to a stunning 57% currently. This is an all time record, as the general public perception toward the MSM has flipped over the past decade. Is it becoming increasingly more difficult to lie to the average American? In this time of unprecedented economic upheaval, where the political regime depends on just how far any given administration's lies can penetrate amongst the broader population, this may well become the most critical factor in determining policy for the future. And with ever increasing alternatives of non-traditional media, could the legacy ad-supported media model, which by definition is one which espouses the status quo, be doomed precisely by the slow but steady education of the average American, who intuitively realizes that nearly every "fact" appearing in the media, especially that supported by any given political party, is a lie?

From Gallup's study on media distrust:

For the fourth straight year, the majority of Americans say they have
little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully,
accurately, and fairly. The 57% who now say this is a record high by one
percentage point.

The 43% of Americans who, in Gallup's annual Governance poll,
conducted Sept. 13-16, 2010, express a great deal or fair amount of
trust ties the record low, and is far worse than three prior Gallup readings on this measure from the 1970s.

Trust in the media is now slightly higher than the record-low trust in the legislative branch
but lower than trust in the executive and judicial branches of
government, even though trust in all three branches is down sharply this
year. These findings also further confirm a separate Gallup poll that
found little confidence in newspapers and television specifically.

Bottom Line

Gallup's annual update on trust in the mass media finds Americans'
views entrenched -- with a record-high 57% expressing little to no trust
in the media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly, and 63%
perceiving bias in one direction or the other. At the same time, the
steady nature of these views stands in contrast to Americans' views of the three branches of government, which are all down sharply this year. Thus, in an environment in which few institutions elicit high levels of trust, it appears the media are neither gaining nor losing significant ground -- but are just managing to hold steady.

Which brings us to CNBC. If the above study is indeed correct, one would correctly guess that the viewership of the station once known for fair and objective analysis and breaking news reporting, and has now devolved to nothing more than the butt of jokes on financial media propaganda, should have plunged, even as the market remains as volatile as ever, with the VIX currently trading at levels not seen since the March highs. As the chart below shows, using data compiled from Nielsen, focusing on the ad revenue-critical target demo, this is in fact the case.

For sampling purposes we have picked three key segments: the Business Day section, Closing Bell, and, of course, Mad Money. As is self-evident, since the market crash, broad CNBC viewership has plunged by more than half, while shows like that anchored by Jim Cramer, whose only purpose is to get as many naive, "dumb money" viewers invested in the market at any given moment to facilitate the offloading of stock by hedge funds and other asset managers, have lost over two thirds of their historical viewership. Of course another explanation is that with the ever declining interest in the broader public in all matters financial, CNBC is meterly a byproduct of an audience that is increasingly aware it is being taken for the proverbial ride, and just refuses to "tune in." And since it is now CNBC's sworn role to protect the status quo and to lie daily that none of the all too obviously horrendous things in the economy are taking place, the cable station's very survival is now in question. It appears the only hope the administration, and its propaganda tentacles such as NBC Universal/CNBC have of regaining viewership, is the ceaseless dumbing down of America, or the return of credibility of the Mainstream Media itself. Alas, as the Gallup data has demonstrated, this is not only happening, but precisely the inverse is transpiring.

Which brings us to a third point: the alterantive media world, which includes blogs, has never had such a unique opportunity to strike out at the legacy regime. Yet unfortunately, being populated by egos larger than life, who would rather engage in pissing contests among each other than focusing on the one true enemy, and lauding fair market capitalism everywhere, except when it affects their own business model, the blogosphere has demonstrated a level of amateur naivete which will forever prevent its ascent over legacy media forms.

Which is truly unfortunate, because it is only a matter of time before the virus of awareness, that will soon wipe out such propaganda anachronisms as CNBC, goes airborne and eliminates even the non-traditional media outlets. And instead of responding with the required cohesion at this most critical time, various alternative media will instead revel in their own pompous insecurity and stand on the sidelines as this once in a lifetime historic opportunity passes them by, and one by one (at least the worthy ones) are subsumed by precisely the very same old model that they pretend to rebel against, the recent acquisition of TechCrunch by AOL being just the first of many examples.

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Johnny Yuma's picture

This is great news! Hopefully the GE propaganda network that is CNBS will soon be discontinued... 

Fish Gone Bad's picture

From Marina and the Diamonds:

Girls, oh girls, wag your tails to the beat Of Girls Aloud, all the journos on heat Write such good stories Oh their mothers must be proud Making money off our insecurity and doubt
Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

MSM sure do spin some tall tales.  But I hope there are no proud mothers. 

Bananamerican's picture

"Distrust In US Media Hits Record High"

shit Tyler.....that's YOU.

The "underground's" King of Hyperbole

Cistercian's picture

 I pray for MSM implosion everyday.The Fail that is the 4th estate in America is an Epic one.

  Step one: turn off your TV.Forever.

 Step two:look around, talk to people....things are looking grim indeed!

 Step three:Revolution.

 Or to put it another way, I will watch TV when they broadcast the life incarceration or execution of Geithner, Bernake, Summers, Lord Bankfiend etc.

 Not before.

 No way.

Everyman's picture

Agreed.  How did the media just go along with all the BS and not ask a single investigative reporting question.  NO probing question, no digging, just accept the story and do spin assist.



Cistercian's picture

 It is sad.

 It is because they are owned and operated by the enemy.

  By all rights, nearly every broadcast station in the US should lose it's license...because they fail to fulfill their mandate of public service, especially in the sense as a foil to the government/special interests.

 They serve only their masters...the complicit scum that they are.

SoCalBusted's picture

I would never turn off the television.  I use it as a way to teach my kids how to develop critical thinking skills and challenge what is routinely put in front of them every day.  They are now understanding how the mass media distorts reality.  Plus, for me, I like to hear what the enemy is saying.

Xedus129's picture

keep your friends close, and your enemies closer!

Bringin It's picture

You and yours will be effected in a negative way.  Too much money, too much time has been put into how to warp your mind using the box for you to remain immune.

Do yourself and your family a favor.  Just turn it off.

I mean if you had a leaky sewer pipe dumping effluent into your family's living room, would you all just continue to queue up on the couch as usual?  I'm afraid that for too too many fellow Americans, the sad answer is a resounding "Yes".

FYI, I used to do tech work for media research entities.  Suvey focus group.  Blast focus group with effects.  Survey focus group.  Crunch stats.  Tweak content of blast.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

StychoKiller's picture

Laziness knows no bounds, neither does stupidity!

CrockettAlmanac.com's picture

Step one: turn off your TV.Forever.

 Step two:look around, talk to people....things are looking grim indeed!

 Step three:Revolution.

But I was hoping that the revolution would be televised. I want to wave to my Mom.

Hedge Jobs's picture

stage one: the people are awakening

stage two: the people get angry

stage three: the people get their guilotines out.

stage one is almost complete

Voluntary Exchange's picture

Step 3: Understand


Step 4: Synthesize a new better reality

Mitchman's picture

Excellent post.  The MSM has had it and they did themselves in.

KevinB's picture

I agree that CNBC is less interesting every day; I put it on with the sound off so I can watch the ticker.

But really - the Gallup poll? Those things generally have a margin of error of 2-3%, depending on how many people are sampled. This poll looks like noise about an average. The true trend may only be up 1-2%, which given all the scandals and failures is highly possible.

Glass Steagall's picture

Yep, put it on with the sound down for an occasional glance at Maria's tits or rub-out a Becky fantasy. Pretty sad when that's all they have to offer.

11b40's picture


The boobs & the legs are better on FOX & there is even less temptation to turn the volume back on.

homersimpson's picture

" less temptation to turn the volume back on." You must be talking about CNN or MSNBC.. esp. when the volume and brightness should both be dimmed forever..

11b40's picture

Wow.  You really must be Homer Simpson.

dehdhed's picture

the cnbc graph in the article starts in the year with the all-time highest ratings in order to prove their point.

the 3 years 2008, 2009, 2010 in the gallup poll, the levels of distrust/trust are virtually unchanged

it could be possible that viewership of everything is down as people cancel their cable, text more, go online .. or just go outside and breath the air

i keep reading slanted articles about how slanted the slanters we all are

as jerry garcia once sung, 'can't talk to you without talking to me, we're guilty of the same old thing'

everybody has an agenda .. everybody

Red Neck Repugnicant's picture


How can you claim that CNBC is less interesting everyday if you have the sound off?

Have you ever stood in line at a Glenn Beck book signing?

Beck/Palin/Bilateral Cingulotomy 2012

KevinB's picture

I guess rednecks haven't heard of closed captioning. I keep it on all the time, so I can follow what's going on during phone calls. I flick back to CNBC during commercials.

Yesterday, Beaker Neale was going on about how texting while driving is safe, using statistics in a way that would make a freshman blush, such as quoting the drop in deaths per mile driven in the US from 1950 to 2005, ignoring that during that time, the interstates were introduced, disc brakes and radial tires became common, seatbelt use became mandatory, airbags were installed, crumple zones were introduced, antilock braking systems were invented, and, oh yes, drunk driving was reduced significantly. If that's the quality of analysis on CNBC, I'll leave the sound off.

midtowng's picture

And yet the poll basically says that everyone believes that Fox News is the most accurate source of news.

People aren't smartening up. They are getting dumber.

A Man without Qualities's picture

The MSM in America does not report news, but rather it creates a narrative that fits in with the concept of the "American way of life", which is based upon the illusion of freedom, the joys of consumerism and the idea that this way of existing is superior to any other in history.  

The crisis for MSM is they have promoted a line which has increasingly diverged from the reality on the ground, and into this gap has come the wonders of the internet.  Without the alternative media, more people would just buy the official story and assume their lives were just different to "the norm", but with it, more people are prepared to call bullshit.

It is publicly available knowledge that the government can require the MSM to report certain stories (whether true or not) and bury others.  This does serve a purpose, in extremis, but it is my opinion that the Bush II cabal abused this during the Iraq invasion to such a degree that they killed it.  Maybe in comparison to the lies told during Vietnam for example, there was nothing exceptional in what they did, but there was no internet during the Vietnam war and therefore it was far easier to control the narrative.

Personally, I see the loss of trust as a great sign.  It is a sign America is growing up and America must have a more honest media in order to have a healthy democracy.

Cathartes Aura's picture

'fraid I have to wave away this anonymous junk - yours is a thought-full post Man, and demonstrates independent thought. . .

that "narrative" you write of is so pervasive that most people believe it to be the only "reality" out there. . . it's what keeps the TV on in the background, or on with sound turned down, it's what keeps some looking at the screens while "rubbing one out," it's company when people are alone, and distracting when with others. .

it's why even when using the much lauded internet, which has almost endless points-of-view, people still hit the same sources of "news" & body stimulates, because that is their limited reality, and anything outside of those narrow-fed definitions must be "conspiracy theory" or red team/blue team flag waving or not "fill in the blank" enough to pay attention to. . .

if your mind is trained to see a single "reality" as the only one out there, you are ripe for the dissonance of a false flag, a mind trauma is always waiting in the wings to shock 'n' awe you out of stupor, and narrow-minded thinking. . .

I too see the loss of trust as essential, as a step closer to maturity. . . parents lie about santa claus/tooth fairy/storks, et al - it's acceptable to keep immaturity from the truths until appropriate. . . at some point one needs to wake up to how things are, to know you are responsible for your own reality, not the gov't or any of its allies. . .

Id fight Gandhi's picture

I'm still amazed at the call screeners on mad money. They must be the best money can buy. Never does a mad caller get on and bitch him out when they lose money from his advice.

Votewithabullet's picture

Walter Cronkite or Katie Couric or the guy on Fox @ 8:00 sayin it dont make it so. Mad money doesnt have call screeners, you must call in and they will call back the ones they choose.

Id fight Gandhi's picture

How do they cover up anyone from losing it on him? His shitty advice is roping in e public retail investors who get a little nutty.

nonclaim's picture

They have your phone number (address)... so, be nice!

Id fight Gandhi's picture

Its nice to have a financial channel announce key reports on time, but painful to listen to these ass clowns spit out the same bullshit buy and hold. Stocks are great blah blah.

I do admit to watching on down days, like the flash crash. Watch them squirm.

RockyRacoon's picture

When we have another financial meltdown the viewership of CNBC will rocket.  That's just the way it works.  It's not interesting until something hits the fan.  Doesn't any viewer graphing show that?  Nothing happens to change things until there is no other way out but change.

cossack55's picture

I'm waiting for the crash day when I tune in and all I will see are the nitwits on quackbox shoes dangling above the desk as they swing lifeless from the light supports.   

Spalding_Smailes's picture

Ahhh the media. What a trip. Canary in the coal mine, book it. Tyler said as much before ...

The Treasury Department, which became the majority owner of GMAC after providing $17 billion in bailout money, has directed the lender to correct its procedures.


“The GMAC announcement was the mushroom cloud,” said one Florida defense lawyer, Matthew Weidner. “The fallout will burn through the entire mortgage servicing industry.”


sumo's picture

Easy fix, a la Berlusconi: cleavage, nipples, and iCrap give-aways. The sheep will come flocking back.


Id fight Gandhi's picture

Why can't zero hedge do a live web radio cast all day long? Can't cost too much just need a small crew to push your announcements.

Howard_Beale's picture

They don't have the resources. It's quite simple. If they did, they would.

Spalding_Smailes's picture

What Tyler should do is host a 4 person open forum on saturdays for 1 hour. Everyone gets to debate, Tyler and 2 or 3 guest. Draw talent from around the web. We are all included.

1 week have 3 gold bugs, next week have 3 mortgage experts, geo politics another, would be cool.


Everyman's picture

We would have to put Tyler in a mask and have his voice decoded al la Stephen Hawking so they will not find out his true identity.

Black Helicopters and all, You  know.

rapacious rachel wants to know's picture
rapacious rachel wants to know (not verified) Id fight Gandhi Sep 29, 2010 10:00 PM

I'd be willing to support this.

rapacious rachel wants to know's picture
rapacious rachel wants to know (not verified) Sep 29, 2010 9:59 PM

I still crave the lumpy sweaters and cleavage aspect of CNBC, but the Cramiacs have no redeeming qualities.

Having said that, I think Trish Regan is HOT! and Sue Herrera is a total babe I'd love to have dinner with, even if she took a cab back to her place.

Catullus's picture

You dickweeds have come a long way.

RockyRacoon's picture

Why, thank you Dennis!  That means a lot coming from you.