News and Analysis

New Poll Reveals The Only News Outlet A Majority Of Americans Trust
Workers of the Emergency Operation Centre (COE) monitor Tropical Storm Dorian in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on August 27, 2019. - Tropical Storm Dorian intensified Tuesday as it approached the Caribbean on a track that will take it near Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic by midweek, possibly at hurricane strength, US forecasters said

It’s no secret that Americans are deeply divided over which media outlets they find to be accurate. But a new poll reveals that only one news source earns the trust of a majority of Americans.

It’s the Weather Channel. A slim majority (52%) of Americans trust the one network pollsters included that almost never covers political issues, according to a poll released Tuesday.

No other outlet comes close in YouGov’s survey of American news consumers — but one network polarizes Americans along partisan lines more than any other: CNN.

In all, 66% of Democrats trust the 42-year-old cable news network, which transformed into an open, inveterate foe of President Donald Trump and the Republican Party under the leadership of former CNN President Jeffrey Zucker. Only 11% of Republicans say they believe CNN’s reporting, creating a gaping 55-point gap in viewer trust between the parties.

A similar discrepancy occurs with CNN’s closest rival, MSNBC, which is deemed reliable by 52% of Democrats and only 9% of Republicans.

Democrats generally are much more likely to believe media reports than Republicans, with a majority of Democrats saying they trust virtually every news outlet, except those which are right-of-center.

A majority Republicans, on the other hand, trust only two networks: the Weather Channel (50%) and Fox News (53%).

The poll, which surveyed 1,500 Americans between March 26 and March 29, shows how disenfranchised conservatives are in the modern U.S. media landscape. More Republicans (23%) trust one of the foreign networks on the survey, the BBC, than believe the reporting of taxpayer-funded outlets like the Public Broadcasting System (20%) or National Public Radio (15%).

Democrats tell YouGov they are most likely to look for information from broadcast TV news networks, like the Big Three networks (ABC, NBC, CBS) and from cable news outlets. Republicans say they sought out the facts from cable news, then broadcast news, social media, and conservative news websites.

The poll seems to show a rightward tilt from U.S. citizens as a whole. Americans overall were more than twice as likely to say they get their news primarily from “conservative news websites” than from “liberal or progressive news websites” (12% vs. 5%, respectively).

The bifurcation of media networks has caused Americans to doubt a progressive amount of the “news” they receive, especially conservatives who find the legacy media biased in favor of the Left (and against them).

American distrust of the mass news media continues to deepen, with few viewers able to say they can put their faith in most nationally available journalism. Only 16% of Americans — and a startlingly low 6% of Republicans — believe TV news broadcasts, a Gallup poll found last July.

The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford found last summer that Americans have a lower level of trust in the media than any nation in the world, putting less trust in news reports than in any of the dozens of nations surveyed.

Republicans have been the least likely to take the media’s story at face value. A Pew Research Center poll released last August found that GOP voters’ trust in the legacy media cratered from 70% in 2016 to 35% in 2021.

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