Trust hard to come by for news outlets


A new survey from The Sacred Heart University Polling Institute echoes a recent Pew study showing that Americans are mistrustful of their news outlets. On the tube, Fox News Channel emerged as both the most and least trusted news source. About a quarter of respondents believe all or most news reporting.

The top line numbers: 24.3% believe most or everything they get out of the news media, up considerably since the last SHU survey in 2007, when the result was only 19.6%. 54.0% are in the skeptical middle, believing some of what is reported, down from 55.3%; and 20.4% believe little or nothing, not quite as bad as 2007 when the disaffected represented 23.9% of those surveyed. 86.6% believe that the news media has a political agenda and tries to influence public opinion.

Broken down by network:

Fox News is most trusted (30.0%), followed by CNN (19.5%), NBC News (7.5%) and ABC News (7.5%).

Fox News is least trusted (26.2%), followed by NBC News (9.9%), MSNBC (9.4%), CNN (8.5%), CBS News (5.3%) and ABC News (3.7%).

SHU said that about 80% see Fox as mostly or somewhat conservative, while the remaining 20% see it as mostly or somewhat liberal. CNN reversed that pattern by a margin of three to one.

SHU says customer satisfaction with the news media is remarkably low. Whereas most businesses aim for customer approval levels in the high eighties/low nineties, the rating for electronic and print media was only 35.9%.

“The results suggest that we are witnessing a new era of partisan media with the important difference that current news outlets claim to be offering objective coverage when they often aren’t,” says Sacred Heart University Media Studies and Digital Culture Associate Professor Jim Castonguay.