Information operations · Information Warfare

These are the most — and the least — trusted news sources in the U.S.


Published: Aug 6, 2017 10:13 a.m. ET

Maybe it’s the accent. When it comes to news, Americans deemed British media more trustworthy than their U.S. counterparts in a world where “fake news” has emerged as an ideological battle cry and less of an oxymoron.

The most trusted news source in the U.S. is The Economist — a weekly magazine published in the U.K., according to a recent survey from the University of Missouri’s Reynolds Journalism Institute.

The second-most reliable is public television, followed by Reuters and BBC. Two U.S. nonprofit outlets, NPR and PBS, came in at fifth and sixth, while the U.K.’s The Guardian clinched the seventh spot. The U.S.-based Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and Dallas Morning News rounded out the top 10 trusted names in journalism.

The Wall Street Journal is owned by News Corp. NWS, -1.01% NWSA, -0.59%  the parent of MarketWatch.

At the other extreme, Occupy Democrats — a political website with a self-claimed agenda of counterbalancing the Republican Tea Party — won the dubious honor of being the most untrustworthy in the nation. Buzzfeed, Breitbart and Infowars also scored dismally on the trust-meter.

The results were based on a survey of more than 8,000 people conducted by 28 media organizations in the U.S. Participation was voluntary but respondents tended to reside near the news outlets that made the questionnaire available on their websites, and leaned toward the liberal side of the political spectrum.

University of Missouri

The survey also showed that politically liberal respondents were more trusting than conservatives, while Caucasians were more likely than non-whites to have confidence in the media.

As the chart below illustrates, the level of trust remained fairly steady among people who identify themselves as liberals or moderates regardless of their age; among conservatives, trust dropped off sharply with age. At the same time, financial support for the media had a strong correlation with age.

University of Missouri

The debate over trust and journalism has taken on a whole different tone in recent months as President Donald Trump has vociferously attacked mainstream media as “fake news” in response to unfavorable coverage.



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