Poll: MSNBC Least Trusted TV News Source, Fox News Most Trusted

Most surveys regarding cable news channels focus on ratings and the opinions of their viewers. However, a recent poll conducted by the Brookings and Public Religion Research Institute sought the views of all Americans toward all news sources in the nation.

A mere 5 percent of the respondents called the left-wing MSNBC cable channel their “most trusted” TV news outlet. On the other end of the spectrum, the Fox News Channel was named by 25 percent of the people surveyed, surprisingly more than the 23 percent who pointed to the “mainstream media” broadcast networks and the 21 percent who said they trust the Cable News Network.

Demonstrating just how far the “Lean Forward” network has fallen, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central drew 8 percent of the positive responses, three points more than MSNBC.

In an article on the survey, Andrew Kirell of Mediaite stated: “Now, of course, the argument could be made that MSNBC’s just trusted by the fewest because of exposure. (CNN and Fox are much bigger household names; and broadcast networks are still the dominant news outlets in the ratings.)"

Nevertheless, Independent voters also choose Fox News first, over MSNBC with a 26 percent to 4 percent margin. The broadcast networks came in at 17 percent, while CNN draws a total of 16 percent from those viewers.

While the main goal of the survey was to determine the respondents' views on immigration reform, the poll also produced interesting data regarding where people get their news.

When asked where they get trusted information about politics and current events, 76 percent said they watch local television news, while 24 stated that they do not.

Turning to talk radio programs, only 42 percent said that they trust such programs as those hosted by Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, while 57 percent do not tune in to those sources of information.

However, when asked about public radio, 54 percent of the respondents said they trust the news they receive from these outlets, but 46 percent said they do not.

Apparently a sign of the times, 62 percent indicated that they get at least some of their news online, though 37 percent don't trust what they find on the Internet.

Nevertheless, 57 percent of those surveyed still trust their print newspapers and news magazines to provide reliable information.

Finally, 69 percent of the people polled said they trust cable television news, while 31 percent do not.

As usual, MSNBC has not responded to the results of the survey. The lead headline on the channel's website reads: “GOP piles on Bergdohl,” an article describing Republican responses to president Barack Obama's swap of an army deserter for “five unrepentant and dangerous terror leaders.”

As NewsBusters previously reported, this isn't the first time the “Lean Forward” network has rated poorly in “trust” issues.

In January, the left-wing Public Policy Polling organization asked viewers which news outlets they trust, and MSNBC tied with Comedy Central at 6 percent -- while Fox News received a rating of 35 percent.

That problem has contributed to the channel's perpetually low ratings, which were described as being in “freefall” during May of 2013 before continuing to drop in early July and four weeks later coming in third place for the third consecutive month.

After the Fox News Channel made revisions to its prime-time schedule by adding Megyn Kelly into the mix in October, the “Fair and Balanced” network nearly doubled the combined numbers for both CNN and MSNBC.

The trend continued through the end of 2013, when Fox beat out the ratings in its two usual competitors and HLN (the former Headline News channel) combined.

Despite the addition of MSNBC's “Boy Wonder”-- Ronan Farrow-- the ratings have not improved, leading GOP senator Lindsey Graham to quip: "I don't think you could increase MSNBC's ratings if you had a gun to people's heads."

And now comes the news that MSNBC has canceled Karen Finney's weekend Disrupt program due to low ratings. Given the low numbers the network usually draws, just how low were Finney's ratings that the “Lean Forward” channel felt the need to cancel her show? And who will be the next casualty in the network's battle for last place?
 

Randy Hall
Randy Hall