Poll: PBS is most trusted name in news

By Steve Safran 

Americans say PBS has the most trusted, least-biased news, according to the results of two national polls. Among those polled, according to a PBS news release, 40% say they trust PBS programs “a great deal.” Fox News comes in second (first among the cable nets), with 27%, and CNN is third with 27%. When asked if the programming was “liberal,” “mosty fair” or “conservative,” PBS again took the top slot, earning the “mostly fair” tag 40% of the time. NBC and ABC tied for second in this category at 33%. How does the public feel about supporting PBS with its tax dollars? 80% say the funding is money “well spent.”

I find the results interesting for a couple of reasons. The conventional wisdom about PBS is that it’s a left-leaning news operation. You’ll also hear plenty of pols trying to pull its funding. The poll seems to show support for the network as a good value and a politically moderate voice. The other part – and this is something I find less encouraging – is that PBS “wins” this poll with just 40% saying it is a mostly fair, trustworthy news operation. 40% trust leaves a lot of room for improvement, and it tells us just how low opinion has dropped about journalism as a whole.

The two surveys were conducted by PBS. This is the seventh year PBS has scored at the top of this annual poll.