News Is Less Believable Than Ever: POLL

TelevisionnewsA new survey from Pew Research Center shows that the "believability ratings" — based on a four point scale in which high means "all or most" of the information is accepted, while the low side is "almost nothing"  — for all news outlets continues to decline, though local news still ranks as most "believable":

For the second time in a decade, the believability ratings for major news organizations have suffered broad-based declines. In the new survey, positive believability ratings have fallen significantly for nine of 13 news organizations tested. This follows a similar downturn in positive believability ratings that occurred between 2002 and 2004.

Across all 13 news organizations included in the survey, the average positive believability rating (3 or 4 on a 4-point scale) is 56%. In 2010, the average positive rating was 62%. A decade ago, the average rating for the news organizations tested was 71%. Since 2002, every news outlet’s believability rating has suffered a double-digit drop, except for local daily newspapers and local TV news.

There are partisan differences in the findings, as well. While both Republicans and Democrats are less likely to take news at face value, Republicans, unsurprisingly, have more faith in Fox News and local news, while Democrats prefer almost all news except Fox News.


  1. Homo Genius says

    I majored in news. Or as we used to call it Broadcast JOURNALISM! Most things passing as news today is really just opinion mixed with a bit of analysis. But thats cheaper to do than paying people to actually cover stuff. Its not just TV. On any given day the front page of the HuffPo for instance would get a D at best from my professors. Many of their headlines would get them an immediate F.

  2. Pete N SFO says

    News is a constant barrage of baloney & half-assed attempts.

    ABC Sunday w/ George Steph had Gavin Newsom on his panel to talk about Ryan as VP. Did Marriage Equality come up at all? NOPE. Unbelievable, especially given Ryan’s opposition, Newsom’s place in history, & the inclusion of Marriage Equality in the Dem Platform.

    They’re all bubble-heads, and THAT was even on a News show!

  3. Sam says

    Broadcast news has become infotainment and print isn’t much better with yellow journalism. Not too hard to see where the integrity went.

  4. Zlick says

    I watch The Newsroom for news. Ok, so it’s last year’s news, but at least they’ve got a good take on it by then. 😉

  5. GregV says

    I have some confusion over how news is rated as “believable” / “biased,” etc. (not just in this poll, but in general:

    Can a news source be considered “biased” or “less believable” if its statements are provably true?

    For example, imagine you go to a very uneducated hypothetical country where 51% of the population believes that the planet earth is flat and 49% believe that it is a sphere.
    If, in that country, a newspaper called the “Flat Earth Times” says the earth is flat, another called the “People’s Press” invites flat earthers and scientists alike to offer opinions and refrains from doing any fact checking, and another paper called “Science Today” says the earth is round, then how will the three news sources be evaluated?

    Are BOTH “Flat Earth Times” and “Science Today” to be considered “biased” simply because they both offered a side (even though one side has the scientific method to back up everything it says?)
    Is “Science Today” the LEAST “believable” simply because in that country it is the least “believed” by those who know nothing about the subject?

    It seems that in America, partisan news sources can claim to be “fair and balanced” and be believed to be so by large numbers of non-fact-checking viewers, even when statements made by invitees and pundits are frequently and provably false.

  6. News Should Be Boring says

    Al Jazeera for the win! And Christian Science Monitor.

    If the news is entertaining and dramatic, then it’s probably just yellow journalism.

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