Pew survey shows significant decline in news organizations’ believability ratings

Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

Since 2002, many major news organizations have suffered declines in believability, according to people polled by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. After local TV news, the next five most trusted outlets were "60 Minutes," ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, CNN and CBS News, the study says.

The New York Times, Fox News and USA Today were the least trusted:

Partisan differences contributed to the drop:

Today, there are only two news organizations – Fox News and local TV news – that receive positive believability ratings from at least two-thirds of Republicans. A decade ago, there were only two news organizations that did not get positive ratings from at least two-thirds of Republicans. By contrast, Democrats generally rate the believability of news organizations positively; majorities of Democrats give all the news organizations tested ratings of 3 or 4 on the 4-point scale, with the exception of Fox News.

Among the country's biggest newspapers, The New York Times' believability has dropped nine points since 2010's survey, USA Today declined seven points and The Wall Street Journal fell only four. Belief in the "daily newspaper you know best" declined only two points from 2010 and just seven points since 2002. There was an analog to these findings in questions about TV news: "Since 2002, credibility ratings for local TV news have remained more stable than have ratings for the three main cable news outlets," the study's authors write.

Related: What can writers do to build the public’s trust in the media? (Poynter) | Rosen’s Trust Puzzler: What Explains Falling Confidence in the Press? (PressThink)

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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