Fox News: The TV source Americans trust the most AND the least

posted at 7:31 pm on January 18, 2012 by Tina Korbe

The Fox News Channel is simultaneously America’s most trusted news source and its least, according to a new poll from Public Policy Polling. Now, if the very same Americans said they both trusted and distrusted Fox, that might have suggested the channel is as perfectly fair and balanced as its executives claim. That is, if conservatives and liberals alike trusted half the information Fox provided and distrusted the other half, a plausible explanation would be that Fox provided liberal and conservative commentary in equal measure. Unfortunately for Fox, that’s not the case here. Instead, the breakdown is predictable: Republicans overwhelmingly trust Fox, while Democrats regard the cable news channel with a wary eye.

Fox is the most trusted TV news source for 34% of voters, followed by PBS at 17%, CNN at 12%, ABC News at 11%, CBS News at 8%, MSNBC at 5%, and Comedy Central and NBC each at 4%.

68% of Republicans pick Fox as their most trusted source, with no one else even hitting double digits. Democrats split closely three ways with PBS at 21%, ABC News at 19%, and CNN at 17%. Despite having a reputation for appealing to the left MSNBC actually polls in only 6th place among Democrats at 8%, finishing slightly behind even Fox News’ 9%. Independents split almost evenly between Fox News (29%) and PBS (27%).

Fox is also the least trusted TV news source for 34% of voters, followed by Comedy Central at 16%, MSNBC at 15%, CNN at 11%, ABC News at 7%, CBS News at 5%, PBS at 2%, and NBC News at 1%.

Democrats (53-17 over Comedy Central) and independents (44-13 over Comedy Central) both overwhelmingly say Fox is their least trusted news source. Republicans go for MSNBC by a 28-23 margin over CNN, followed by Comedy Central at 18% and ABC News at 10%.

The poll also asked whether folks trusted each individual source.  PBS was the only news source that a majority of those polled said they trust. A plurality of voters also said they trust CNN, NBC and Fox. The rest of the sources run an explicit trust deficit; more individuals said they don’t trust them than said they do.

The sample skewed conservative and Democrat, with a liberal/moderate/conservative breakdown of 28/27/44 and a Democrat/Independent/Republican breakdown of 41/24/35.

In general, the directors of PPP say this poll suggests TV news has become every bit as polarized as the political parties in this country. “Television news has become just as polarizing as the politicians themselves,” PPP president Dean Debnam said in a press release. “Democrats trust everything except Fox News, while Republicans trust nothing except Fox News.”

To me, the poll serves as a timely reminder to check a diversity of sources to ensure a well-rounded perspective on the world. Realistically, time constraints and the general demands of life often preclude the casual media consumer from checking a multiplicity of sources, but that doesn’t mean consumers can’t switch it up occasionally.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Cordell on January 18, 2012 at 11:21 PM

The couple of shows I saw, had three republicans, a democrat woman and Beckel… hardly that unfair. But ask Beckel how hard it is to get lefties to appear regularly on FOX, they get harassed by their own team for even appearing.

I’d love a reasoned debate too…

But when the lefties who do come on are the loudest least intelligent ones, that’s kind of tough. Juan Williams is probably the best of the left on FOX, the rest are third string at best. If they have the courage of their convictions, you’d think they’d love to come and debate,… but most that do, start off by throwing verbal molotov’s then spout talking points endlessly.

mark81150 on January 18, 2012 at 11:41 PM

What’s amusing is that they have FOX News Alerts for the most insignificant things (FOX News Alert: Firemen try to save cat stuck in tree),
McDuck

That is totally significant!

I’d rather be alerted to ‘cat being saved from tree’ stories than the usual doom and gloom catastrophe, mass murder, jet liner crashing, or economic/jobless news stories.

TigerPaw on January 18, 2012 at 11:42 PM

I’d rather be alerted to ‘cat being saved from tree’ stories than the usual doom and gloom catastrophe, mass murder, jet liner crashing, or economic/jobless news stories.

TigerPaw on January 18, 2012 at 11:42 PM

I’d rather be alerted when they find a cat skeleton in a tree.

trigon on January 19, 2012 at 12:13 AM

I was thinking the same thing…isn’t SNL where most of the left gets it’s political pov?

Strike Hornet on January 19, 2012 at 1:19 AM

I’d rather be alerted when they find a cat skeleton in a tree.

trigon on January 19, 2012 at 12:13 AM

boo hiss! Dead cat jokes are not funny.

TigerPaw on January 19, 2012 at 2:23 AM

When? How so?, I’ve never seen them any more inaccurate than the others, and far more likely to correct any mistake.. ever see an on air retraction and apology from MSNBC?

I never have, and distort is their watchword.

mark81150 on January 18, 2012 at 7:52 PM

I get it.
Satire…right?
Surely you jest…..

greataunty on January 19, 2012 at 3:41 AM

Fox is the most trusted TV news source for
Fox 34% of voters, followed by
PBS at 17%,
CNN at 12%,
ABC News at 11%,
CBS News at 8%,
MSNBC at 5%, and
Comedy Central and NBC each at 4%.

Kinda sorta follows their ratings don’t it?

DSchoen on January 19, 2012 at 5:43 AM

Why are you lying about what I’ve stated? At no point did I call out Fox as the “worst offender.”

Really?

Well, considering that Fox ran a retraction after the story was debunked, I’ll cite Fox itself as a source.
humili mente on January 18, 2

No you said fox lies and then attributed the story to FNC as the source of the lie. Even MMFA points out the story came from the Hillary camp!

On January 17, InsightMag.com published an article claiming that “researchers connected to” Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) disclosed that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) “spent at least four years in a so-called Madrassa, or Muslim seminary, in Indonesia.” The story claimed that “sources close to [a] background check,” which was supposedly “conducted by researchers connected to Senator Clinton,” said that “[t]he idea is to show Obama as deceptive.”

What was the point of lie that “Fox itself as a source”? You didn’t name any other possible source

At no point did I call out Fox as the “worst offender

.” You called Fox as the Only source! You lied!

DSchoen on January 19, 2012 at 6:17 AM

DSchoen on January 19, 2012 at 6:17 AM

Poor reading comprehension continues to be the scourge of the internet.

Dante on January 19, 2012 at 7:49 AM

Neil Cavuto or nothing at all is where I finally landed, although at times I can endure an hour with Greta.

hillsoftx on January 18, 2012 at 7:55 PM

Agree – Neil Cavuto is great. And I do watch Greta from time to time. She is good too, but the format of the show… needs a little pick me up. Last Call ;-)

Dasher on January 19, 2012 at 8:08 AM

What’s amusing is that they have FOX News Alerts for the most insignificant things (FOX News Alert: Firemen try to save cat stuck in tree),
McDuck

FNC News Alert 8:20 AM: Costa Concordia’s Captain (aka ‘Chicken of the Sea’) may have been boinking some young bimbo at time of crash

petefrt on January 19, 2012 at 8:19 AM

Your suggestion to “check multiple sources” struck a chord with me. Back in the dark ages, before the internet, I remember watching a CBS story about Nicaragua. The story was about an American killed in Nicaragua when the helicopter he was in was shot down during an attack on a school.
The story made me stop and question my support for the contras. If we were helping people to attack kids, we were probably helping the wrong side. So I did some more digging. It turned out every word of the CBS story was true, but the facts put the story in a new light. The school was an officer training school. That is a school, but a legitimate target of war. The helicopter was shot down, but it was not directly involved in the attack. Rather, the helicopter was acting as a medical evacuation means (I never did find out if it was marked with Red Cross or not). It wasn’t clear if the shoot down was during the attack or after the attack was completed, but I’ll give CBS a pass on parsing things that fine. The timing was in relatively close proximity.
I stopped watching CBS news after that (I had been a daily watcher). I suspect that declining viewership for the news comes at least in part from their violating the trust their viewers put in them. As near as I could tell CBS took the unvarnished word of the Sandinistas with out questioning or investigating. That to me was journalistic malpractice brought on by a leftist sympathy with one side of the news story. Of course years later Dan Rather was caught doing a similar breach of journalistic malpractice with the “Rathergate” papers meant to harm Bush. Then, finding out the real facts was much easier due to the internet.
Today we are blessed because we have multiple sources of news and checking up on stories is much easier. If I come across a story that makes me question what I should or shouldn’t support, then it is much easier to investigate further.

yetanotherjohn on January 19, 2012 at 9:11 AM

I agree with all the complaints about ‘Fox news alerts’ as false alarms. On the other hand, if I get frustrated with FOX and go to my local news channel in this city of 2 million, with only 22 minutes of news time in the half hour broadcast, we too, have to watch that same damned cat caught up in a tree in Georgia somewhere – instead of local news I can use…..

My other frustration with FOX news (besides Alan Colmes) is the constant reminders of ‘whats coming up’ promo’s, that never appear until the last 30 seconds of the newscast. The noon hour blond is most guilty of this…..

Pecozbill on January 19, 2012 at 9:39 AM

The ‘why’ is more interesting than the ‘is’ in this case. Why do ABC, CBS, and NBC just concede the center-right ground to Fox News? So they can lose money for their shareholders? Huh? Why?

Knott Buyinit on January 19, 2012 at 10:10 AM

I don’t trust a word that Fox or MSNBC tell me. I’m wary of ABC, CBS, CNN, etc but not as much as the other two. If they tell me anything I have to go get the full story from elsewhere. Not just the half they are telling me that fits their narrative.

Benaiah on January 19, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Fox just did a hatchet job on Andrew Sullivan and won’t even have him on to defend himself. You don’t have to like Sullivan to know that that’s just not fair.

chumpThreads on January 18, 2012 at 10:14 PM

“Hatchet Job”, Gracie?

I didn’t see the report you’re whining about but after a Google search from what I can figure Fox News’ “hatchet job” was showing the Newsweak cover and blocking out his name.

Oh, and I did find this:

On Tuesday’s America Live, Megyn Kelly questioned whether readers should expect Newsweek articles to be written by “an actual journalist … as opposed to someone who is saying Sarah Palin didn’t give birth to her own child.”

Everything Kelly said in that quote I cite is Settled Science Fact; Andrew Sullivan has absolutely no formal journalistic training. He got his Bachelors in Modern History and Modern Languages, a Masters in Public Administration, and a Piled High and Deep in Government.

And as wiki tells us:

In August, 2008, Sullivan wrote on his blog about a widespread rumor circulating on the Internet that Palin faked her fifth pregnancy, the baby was actually her daughter’s, and that this was motivated by political reasons. After a photograph surfaced in which she appeared to be pregnant in the appropriate time period, Sullivan admitted that she was most likely pregnant, but “not in the last year” and continued with questions about whether she actually gave birth to the child. The Politico called him “a man possessed” in his support for the theory, noting intensive coverage of the issue in his blog over a short period. The Wall Street Journal reported that according to people familiar with discussions among Palin’s advisers, Palin considered a libel suit against him over the issue, but eventually decided against it.

As for Fox News having Sullivan on to defend himself, how do you know whether or not they even asked him to appear? My guess is that if they did, he’d just say no.

Remember, in 2010 Sullivan basically compared Bill O’Reilly to Goebbels. He never gave Bill a chance to defend himself.

INC

Del Dolemonte on January 19, 2012 at 10:14 AM

The sample skewed conservative and Democrat, with a liberal/moderate/conservative breakdown of 28/27/44 and a Democrat/Independent/Republican breakdown of 41/24/35.

I call blarney on this. Almost 10% of Conservatives and 3% of moderates are Democrat?

yetanotherjohn on January 19, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Welcome to the ranks of the 1%ers. You are now (well, way back when) wiser than 99% of the population. Expect to be asked to share that wisdom with the 99%. (Not.)

GWB on January 19, 2012 at 10:33 AM

Let’s see….

Megan Kelly (totally hot!) versus that Bashir person (a bitter closet bed-wetter).

No contest!

(Hey – you gotta have priorities here…)

Michael73501 on January 19, 2012 at 10:57 AM

The couple of shows I saw, had three republicans, a democrat woman and Beckel… hardly that unfair.

There isn’t any democrat woman I’m aware of that regularly appears on The Five. The Five consists of Andrea Tantaros (Republican strategist), Greg Gutfeld (conservative comedian), Eric Bolling (self-described Reagan Republican), Dana Perino (Bush’s former press secretary) and Beckel.

That’s four Republicans and one drunk. Seriously. It’s kind of a laugh to claim that that’s a balanced political program. It’s a circlejerk. I’d rather see another lib on so there would be serious debate. It’s seriously awkward watching the program because Beckel has to play the foil on other subject when the other four all agree with each other. You can hear four sets of eyeballs roll when its his time to talk. It’s just AWKWARD.

Cordell on January 19, 2012 at 11:08 AM

.” You called Fox as the Only source! You lied!

Not to defend the Hillary camp here, but Insight never really gave any proof at all that Hillary was behind the Obama-raised-in-radical-madrassa-story. Claiming that she was behind it is a convenient way of sliming someone you don’t like and passing responsibility off on someone else. It’s kind of like if the NYT ran a BS story claiming that Gingrich beat his wife, and when they get called out on it, throwing their hands up and saying, “HEy, Mitt told us about it.”

Cordell on January 19, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Cordell on January 19, 2012 at 11:08 AM

I agree with you in one respect, The Five is a terrible show. A worthwhile offering to the liberals that won the content battle with the spaghetti-spined Murdoch and Ailes.

slickwillie2001 on January 19, 2012 at 11:55 AM

Not to defend the Hillary camp here, but Insight never really gave any proof at all that Hillary was behind the Obama-raised-in-radical-madrassa-story. Claiming that she was behind it is a convenient way of sliming someone you don’t like and passing responsibility off on someone else. It’s kind of like if the NYT ran a BS story claiming that Gingrich beat his wife, and when they get called out on it, throwing their hands up and saying, “HEy, Mitt told us about it.”

Cordell on January 19, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Well, Leftist Josh Marshall (Talking Points Memo) claimed at the time that:

A day after the Hillary campaign hit the Obama camp for bullying voters in nasty phone calls, the Hillary crew has just acknowledged that an Iowa county chair volunteering for the campaign passed along the now-notorious email that smears Obama as a Muslim by repeating the false claim that he attended a madrassa as a child.

The Hillary campaign confirms that they are asking the county chair to step down from the campaign.

The charge was made by a Daily Kos diarist who identified himself as planning to “caucus” for Chris Dodd, suggesting that this happened in Iowa.

Of course, Marshall has since completely scrubbed his old story, which had this URL

http://tpmelectioncentral.com/2007/12/hillary_campaign_acknowledges_that_hillary_backer_passed_along_obama_madrassa_email.php

In the now vanished link, TPM also said:

But it quotes Clinton’s respected internet media coordinator Peter Dao (we’ve linked to his stuff for years and he is a solid pro) as confirming, yes, it came from a Clinton campaign worker. This does NOT mean, by the way, that it was a decision from high-up in the Hillary Clinton camp.

Del Dolemonte on January 19, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Fox is the most trusted TV news source for 34% of voters, followed by PBS at 17%, CNN at 12%, ABC News at 11%, CBS News at 8%, MSNBC at 5%, and Comedy Central and NBC each at 4%.

Er, Comedy Central? Comedy Central?

billrowe on January 19, 2012 at 1:44 PM

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