Posted by Brad @ 5:52 pm on January 27th 2010

Is Fox the Most Trusted Name in News?

That’s the headline, as a lot of people are touting or uncritically passing on the PPP poll that shows, of all media outlets, Fox News being the only one which more people trust than not. 49% say they trust it to 37% who do not. CNN follows a 39/41 spread, followed by NBC at 35/44, CBS at 32/46, and ABC at 31/46.

But, as Steve Singiser quite rightly and cogently explains, that’s more than a little misleading, one of those statistical tricks wherein the words you put to the numbers give a different impression than the numbers themselves. In fact, of the three classes of respondents—liberals, conservatives, and moderates—the conservative vote screws it up.

How?

Moderates and liberals all rate most of the news agencies roughly the same—in the mid-range. Conservatives, however, OVERWHELMINGLY rate all news agencies except Fox at damn near 0, and Fox closer to a 100 (on an out-of-my-ass scale of trustworthiness). In fact, the second-most trusted news agency for conservatives, CNN, is rated at 22%, which is 4% less than liberals rate Fox News. Ironically, moderates agree with liberals that Fox is their least trusted name in news, but because the range among conservative responses is so staggering, it skews the polls. So, when it says that 49% of people trust Fox and 39% do not, what it really means is conservatives really trust Fox News and absolutely despise everything else, while moderates and liberals trust Fox the least but tend to have a more, well, moderate view of everybody else.

So the real headline of the story is that conservative opinion is way, way more homogeneous when it comes to Fox News than any other demographics are about any other news agency. Which I’m not sure is a selling point for either the trustworthiness of Fox or the trustiness ratings of conservatives.

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