Whom Do Viewers Trust In TV News? Fox Leads List, But Truth Is Complex

Fox is the "most trusted" name in TV news, at least according to its recent advertisements.

But, according to a press release from the Public Policy Polling group -- the group Fox cites for this claim -- the truth is  less black-and-white.

First off, the survey group offers up this headline: "Is Fox the most trusted name in news?" Then it goes on to explain that the only TV news group getting a "positive" review is Fox News. It adds that "49% of Americans say they trust Fox News to 37% who didn't; 15% were unsure."

Hmmm... does that really sound like a majority positive review? Among 10 people, four could trust one TV news operation; while there could be three votes for other networks.

Most trusted, then, sounds right. But to be fair -- Fox is the most trusted among news organizations we generally really don't believe. Not exactly the best endorsement.



Every single other news organization was in the red -- so to speak. More of the survey participants said they didn't trust CNN, NBC, CBS, and ABC, then those who didn't - averaging around 34% positive, to 44% negative. But a definite chunk of them, on average 21%, said they weren't sure about any of these networks.

Party lines went the way one expects for Fox, according to the poll: 74% of Republicans trust Fox, with only 30% of Democrats saying they believe the right-leaning network. (Now, there could be an interesting story: the other 26% of Republicans who may not trust Fox.)

Positive TV polls or reviews for shows or networks  should always be taken with a grain -- or an entire mine -- of salt.

Fox also uses the "We Report. You Decide" advertising line. I trust viewers still believe that line.

12 comments about "Whom Do Viewers Trust In TV News? Fox Leads List, But Truth Is Complex".
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  1. The digital Hobo from, February 2, 2010 at 2:54 p.m.

    the most interesting part of that study was the Republicans vs Democrats when it comes to other news outlets.

    The Dems fairly evenly trusted most of the networks, including Fox. But the Republicans didn't trust any of the other networks.

    All in all, we're still seeking out "news" that validates our beliefs.

  2. Jim Courtright from Big Thinking By The Hour, February 2, 2010 at 2:59 p.m.

    I noticed you described Fox as right-leaning, but shied away from calling the rest of the media left-leaning. This may give you an inkling as to why some media is trusted more than others.

  3. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, February 2, 2010 at 3:41 p.m.

    49 to 37 positive is much better than Obama is getting these days, even after the bounce.

  4. Kelly Parker from WWMT, February 2, 2010 at 4:37 p.m.

    You have got to be kidding Wayne! Network news has a bad rap for a reason! They are not supposed to report for ratings Fox is winning because they do a "better job then the others of telling both sides. News is as news does not what an individual reporter or network executive think people should know! Its called competition and the market will always uncover bad product!

  5. Robert Smith from VNA, February 2, 2010 at 4:58 p.m.

    Fox "News" is professional wrestling. The WWE pulls huge ratings and positive audience comments, too.

  6. Aaron B. from, February 2, 2010 at 5:03 p.m.

    One might also have to consider the general volume of Fox News' viewership, which is dwarfing the competition in year-over-year comparisons. If the cable news network earns twice as many pairs of eyeballs than others, would it's positive rating naturally be higher as a consequence? (Or, negative rating, be lower?)

  7. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, February 2, 2010 at 6:03 p.m.

    Maybe this title should be is the Fox watching the Henhouse. The pugnaciousness of the human mindset is mind shattering. Fox News shatters the mind as it uses controversy over facts (see for facts) to rake in those pugnacious dollars. Witch burning anyone? It's evolutionary.

  8. Randy Kirk from Randy Kirk & Associates, February 2, 2010 at 7:55 p.m.

    Just a little more investigation would show that other tests have been done to empirically prove Fox as more balanced. Their citations more clearly mirrored the citations used by Senators and Congressmen in the daily record than any other news service.

    Moreover, those on the left need to get over that the self reporting of Americans is Center-Right, not Center-Left.

  9. Ibrahim Riad from Image Plus, February 3, 2010 at 2:53 a.m.

    "49% of Americans say they trust Fox News to 37% who didn't; 15% were unsure"

    Why would 49% become 4 out of 10????

    and why did you account for 26% of Republicans not trusting Fox while you are not emphasizing that 30% of Democrats do???

    Just wondering

  10. Jerry Foster from Energraphics, February 3, 2010 at 4:03 a.m.

    I am one of the 26% of Republicans who don't trust Fox News and consider it more center left religious populist than conservative. I am one of those 26% who sat out the 2006 and 2008 elections because Fox News was running the GOP platform. What turned me off was they promoted the radical feminist Lis Wiehl to an announcer position and acted like Sarah Palin was conservative because she was an attractive woman who said she was. FNC is entertaining and better than any of its radical left wing competitors, but that just causes me to not watch cable news channels at all and FNC's entertainment advantage has already shown (2006 and 2008 elections) that it won't translate directly into GOP votes. The 2004 election was about whether the Iraq War would be continued, not about anything Fox News said. The populist Glenn Beck showed an example of where FNC is clueless the other day when he attacked GOP Senator-elect Scott Brown for making a statement that might upset radical feminists (he said his daughters were single and like males). Beck was pandering to his mistaken view that all women who count for the GOP put their careers first including Scott Brown's own daughters. Scott Brown supporters are not happy about this attempt to throw non-panderers under the bus. I don't blame FNC for trying to veer left to completely destroy their competition, especially as no other TV station is trying to compete with them at all for real libertarians and small government conservatives (religious stations compete with them for the religious vote but that has fallen below 20% of Americans).

  11. Solaria Kovak from The Kovak Group Inc, February 3, 2010 at 9:48 a.m.

    The vitriol of the left cable news platforms is so intense that no wonder viewers are preferring Fox. Take Keith Olberman and Mathews... they so far out left it is difficult to comprehend their level of disdain towards anyone who does not share their political views. Fox is attracting the Independent voter who does not necessarily buy into any one party

  12. Dave O'Mara from Logan Marketing Communications, February 3, 2010 at 11:02 a.m.

    You go through some real gyrations to discredit FNN's claim. Given the data you shared, it's legitimate -- period. Black and white. End of story.

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