Survey: Trust in News Media Is Up, Particularly Trust In Local News

By A.J. Katz Comment

There seems to be some good news about those who cover and report the news.

Poynter Institute is reporting that “after decades of declining trust in the press, coupled with relentless rhetorical attacks on the media by President Trump,” a new survey shows that “trust in media is up since last year, and the great majority of Americans trust their local news sources.”

According to a Poynter Media Trust Survey,  76 percent of Americans have “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in their local TV news, and 73 percent have confidence in local newspapers.

Trust in national news is not quite as high, though it still exceeds 50 percent. According to Poynter, 55 percent of Americans across the political spectrum have at least “a fair amount” of trust in national TV news, 59 percent in national newspapers and 47 percent in online-only news outlets.

71 percent said they trust local TV news in their community, 43 percentage points higher than those who trust national network television news. Similarly, 62 percent of Republicans said they trust their local newspapers, 33 percentage points higher than their confidence in national papers.

Democrats, on the other hand,  had high levels of trust across the board.

These numbers are stronger than Poynter’s most recent survey, published in November 2017.  54 percent of respondents expressed “a great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in news media in this newly-released survey, compared with 49 percent in the previous survey.

How about national cable news? According to Poynter, when researchers asked about trust and confidence in Fox News and CNN, the partisan divide was quite pronounced. Only 21 percent of Democrats expressed “a great deal” or “fair amount” of trust in Fox News, while just 19 percent of Republicans expressed the same trust in CNN.

When it came to Fox News, 45 percent of all respondents to the Poynter survey expressed either “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust. The figure is 18 percent for “a great deal” and 27 percent for “a fair amount.”

When it came to CNN, 56 percent of all respondents expressed either a “great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust. The figure is 23 percent for “a great deal” and 33 percent for “a fair amount.”

MSNBC was not included in this particular survey.

Additionally, Poynter found that 42 percent of Americans surveyed believe the news media fabricate stories frequently, slightly down from 44 percent in Poynter’s November 2017 survey. (Which is still an alarmingly-high number if you ask me!)