Pew Research: Liberals More Trusting of Media than Conservatives

Pew Research: Liberals More Trusting of Media than Conservatives

A Pew Research Poll on media habits finds that liberals trust more media outlets than conservatives do.

The poll looked at 36 news sources including major news networks, cable news, major newspapers, talk radio, and outlets like Slate and Breitbart News. Of the 36 considered, consistent liberals trusted (at least more than they distrusted) 28 of them. In contrast, consistent conservatives distrusted (more than they trusted) 24 of the 36 outlets.

The partisan breakdown won’t come as a surprise to most news junkies. Liberals trust all of the major networks, newspapers like the NY Times and Washington Post and left-leaning sites like Mother Jones and the Huffington Post. Conservatives trust none of the networks or newspapers except the Wall Street Journal. However they do trust Fox News, talk radio and right-leaning sites like Breitbart News.

Another way Pew breaks up the trust issue is by looking at the average number of news outlets which are trusted by individuals respondents in each category. For consistent liberals they expressed trust for an average of 10.3 outlets and distrust for 4.8 outlets. For consistent conservatives the figures were nearly inverted. They expressed trust for an average of 5.6 news outlets and distrust for 8.8 outlets.

Somewhat surprisingly, the most trusted news site on the liberal side was not MSNBC or the NY Times. NPR came in first at 72% trust followed by PBS at 71 percent. The NY Times was fourth on a list of trusted sources at 62% and MSNBC came in 8th at 52 percent.

On the conservative side, Fox News was far and away the most trusted source at 88 percent. After that the most trusted sources were radio shows: Sean Hannity (62%), Rush Limbaugh (58%) and Glenn Beck (51%).

Most of the 36 news outlets included in the poll (21) were more trusted than distrusted. Of the remaining outlets, about half were trusted about the same amount they were distrusted (often by partisans on each side). Breitbart News was in this category. The final group of outlets were those more distrusted than trusted. They included outlets on the right like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and outlets Daily Kos and the Ed Schultz show.

Buzzfeed was the least trusted of all 36 outlets with none of the five segments of the poll’s respondents saying they trusted it more than they distrusted it. An ideological profile placed Buzzfeed’s audience left of center, about on par with the audience for PBS and the Huffington Post.

The image at the top of this post shows the full ideological profile of all the outlets considered in the poll. The average respondent is noted by the dashed red line and sits just to the left of center.


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