Editor’s note: This is another in a series of “WND/WENZEL POLLS” conducted exclusively for WND by the public-opinion research and media consulting company Wenzel Strategies.
A new poll shows that the national network or news channel that Americans trust the most is Fox News Channel, with 37.8 percent of all respondents in the poll picking Fox out of a list of nine possible options.
Far back in second place, with 11.1 percent of the respondents, was CNN, while ABC and NBC were tied at 10.8 percent apiece and CBS holding at 10.4 percent.
But the most untrusted source – as revealed in the same poll, was a surprise – Fox News Channel.
The survey results come from a scientific telephone survey conducted Aug. 20-22 of nearly 1,100 respondents with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.93 percentage points, according to officials with Wenzel Strategies, which worked on the project.
The split results reveal a deeply divided America, with huge numbers of the GOP (60.7 percent of the group) and those who identify themselves has independent (40.5 percent) saying they trust Fox first. Support from Democrats was negligible, with roughly the same number picking Fox as picking PBS.
The bottom half of the list of trusted sources included PBS at 8.6 percent, none of the above at 6.8 percent, MSNBC at 3.3 percent and CNBC at 0.5 percent – a total of six votes among the nearly 1,100 respondents.
But the same poll revealed that huge numbers of Democrats – 52.2 percent of that group, and 33.9 percent of the independents, said Fox is the most untrustworthy. Others leading the “untrustworthy” rankings were MSNBC at 13 percent, CNN at 11.9 percent, NBC at 11.1 percent, CNBC at 8.2 percent (CNBC got 15 times as many votes to be most untrustworthy as it got to be the most trustworthy), ABC at 7.8 percent, CBS at 7.5 percent and PBS at 5.7 percent. None of the above was at 0.9 percent.
The result leaves the country at virtually polar opposites – Democrats and one-third of the independents with one view and the GOP and 40 percent of the independents standing on the other side. And the Democrats appear to be fragmented in their choice.
“Television’s ascendance as the most trustworthy source of news comes as cable news channels have matured,” said Fritz Wenzel, chief of Wenzel Polls. “It is simply shocking how dominant Fox News Channel has become, compared to groundbreaking cable outlet CNN and late-comer MSNBC.
“Fox is seen as the most trustworthy by 38 percent of adults nationwide, while just 11 percent said the same about CNN. MSNBC wins the title of ‘Most Trustworthy’ from just 3 percent of respondents,” he said.
“That’s not to say that Fox doesn’t have its detractors – it does. In fact, while it is seen as the most trustworthy, it is also seen as the least trustworthy, as 34 percent said as much in this survey.”
That Fox remains the dominant fixture in the field isn’t in question. According to the Aug. 25 rankings for cable news networks, Fox led the way with viewership totals more than twice that of CNN and three times that of MSNBC. Its audience was six times the size of CNBC.
“The broadcast networks, once the collective dominant force on the American news landscape, have slipped into mediocrity. For instance, as about 10 percent considered one or another of the networks as the most trustworthy source of news, and a similar percentage considered them the least trustworthy outlet,” said Wenzel.
“It’s no surprise that just 11 percent of Democrats consider Fox the most trustworthy source of news, compared to 61 percent of Republicans who said the same thing. What is striking is that there is no single news channel or network that liberals find as the dominant source of trustworthy news. While you might think they would turn to MSNBC as their most trusted source, just 9 percent of Democrats said MSNBC is their most trusted outlet for news. Even among those who considered themselves to be very liberal, just 7 percent said MSNBC was their most trusted news source,” he said.
If you would like to sound off on this issue, participate in today’s WND Poll.