The decline in confidence is particularly pronounced by party. Today about 69 percent of Democrats have a great deal of confidence in the media, compared to just 15 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of independents, according to Gallup.
Conservatives are less trusting because they are suspicious of the liberal establishment and the media that they see coming from it, said Stephen Hawkins, director of research at More in Common, a nonprofit group studying polarization.
“On the right you have this feeling that the cultural tide has swung against people like me,” said Mr. Hawkins, who grew up evangelical. “There’s this sense of victimhood toward government, media and academia. ‘These people have contempt for us, if not downright hatred, and so cannot be a reliable witness for what we are seeing day to day.’”
Mr. Pomerantsev argues that news avoidance cuts across political lines and that the concept of left and right no longer fits. In Russia, it had more to do with the loss of national identity and a larger story of progress that came with the collapse of the Soviet Union.