Scholars across America who study the news industry won't be surprised by the resurgence of partisan news preferences reported today by Public Policy Polling. The ironic headline, "Fox leads in trust," brings into full view the elasticity of truth, as well as the high cost of poor education.
There is a lot of political polarization in which outlets people trust. 74% of Republicans trust Fox News, but no more than 23% trust any of the other four sources. We already knew that conservatives
don't trust the mainstream media but this data is a good prism into just how deep that distrust runs.
For Democrats the numbers are a complete opposite- a majority trust all of ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC while only 30% have faith in Fox News. Continuing the trend in our polling over the last few months that
independents hate everything, a plurality of them distrust all five outlets we looked at.
NBC is the most popular choice among Democrats at a 62/17 spread. Although 'NBC News' was the entity named in the question it's possible respondents could have been lumping MSNBC in with it given the good
numbers on the left. At a 17/69 spread CBS was the least popular with Republicans, perhaps indicating residual unhappiness from the Dan Rather days. CNN finished second among Democrats, Republicans, and independents suggesting that it may be the least polarizing of the major tv news operations.
These numbers suggest quite a shift in what Americans want from their news. A generation ago Walter Cronkite was the most trusted man in the country because of his neutrality. Now people trust Fox the most precisely because of its lack of neutrality. It says a lot about where journalism is headed.