Last week, YouGov released its 2023 Trust in Media poll in which it asked 1,500 Americans to score the trustworthiness of 56 various print, broadcast, and digital news outlets.
The poll produced a great deal of data. But since the survey relies on the opinions of respondents, many of whom do not watch, visit, or read all 56 outlets surveyed, the poll is not necessarily an indication of the measurable trustworthiness of each outlet.
As Politico senior media writer Jack Shafer pointed out last Tuesday, while respondents could answer that they neither trusted nor distrusted an outlet or didn’t know, there was no way to be certain that all 1,500 respondents didn’t offer a trustworthy score to an outlet they’ve never watched or read before.
Shafer suggests that some respondents may have based their score on name recognition or reputation alone, rather than personal experience. Meaning, someone who has never watched MSNBC may have scored the network as untrustworthy rather than simply answering “don’t know.”
Like its 2022 Trust in Media poll, YouGov found that the Weather Channel scored the highest net level of trust (+56 points). This was followed by PBS (+30), the BBC (+29), and the Wall Street Journal (+24).
But as Shafer explains, YouGov doesn’t determine if the respondents participating in the survey ever watch a single minute of the Weather Channel, PBS, or the BBC or if they read the Wall Street Journal.
The four outlets that scored the lowest were Daily Kos (-1), Breitbart (-3), the Daily Caller (-4), and, the least trustworthy, InfoWars (-16).
With some outlets, it is clear that the respondents knew very little about them.
Axios, which is considered a reliable news outlet by the industry, was only rated “very trustworthy” and “trustworthy” by 20 percent of respondents. Another 14 percent said it was “very untrustworthy” or “trustworthy,” giving it a net level of trust of +6. However, 41 percent said they didn’t know while another 25 percent said it was neither trustworthy nor untrustworthy.
Only 26 percent of respondents found the small right-wing cable outlet One America News “very trustworthy” or “trustworthy,” while 22 percent found it “very untrustworthy” or “untrustworthy,” landing it a net level of trust of +4. The majority of respondents either didn’t know (30 percent) or said OAN was neither trustworthy nor untrustworthy (22 percent).
This did not sit well with One America News.