Television news is just as polarizing as the American political landscape.
Democrats, Republicans and Independents tend to trust the news sources that validate their own political beliefs, although GOP supporters overwhelmingly trust Fox News over every other major network, according to survey results released Thursday from Public Policy Polling.
In the organization's third annual TV News Trust Poll, 68 percent of self-identified Republicans said they trusted Fox News more than any other television news source, with no other network even making the double-digits. CNN came in second, with 8 percent of Republicans citing it as their most trusted news network, while Comedy Central followed, beating out the big three television networks ABC, NBC and CBS.
Fox News holds the dubious title of simultaneously being Americans' most trusted and least trusted TV news outlet, according to the survey. All in all, 34 percent of respondents from across party lines said Fox News was their single-most trusted news outlet (including 25 percent of Democrats), while another 34 percent said it was the single-least trusted; by party affiliation, 53 percent of Democrats, 44 percent of Independents, and 5 percent of Republicans, listed it as the least-trusted news outlet.
Although both Democrats and Independents agreed Fox News was by far their least trusted news network, a majority of either party did not gravitate toward one particular network. Also, most Democrats and Independents said PBS was their most trusted news source, but afterward their answers varied. While MSNBC is often denounced as the liberal equivalent of Fox News, only 8 percent of Democrats cited is as their most trusted source, only coming out higher than NBC News (7 percent) and Comedy Central (3 percent) among those respondents.
Fox News and MSNBC viewers may actually be less informed about current events than individuals who do not follow the news, according to a November study by the independent research group PublicMind. Similarly, another December 2010 poll conducted by the University of Maryland's WorldPublicOpinion.org found that concluded that habitual Fox News viewers were more likely to believe false information about politics.
Conducted by the University of Maryland's WorldPublicOpinion.org, a considerable portion of individuals who watched Fox News daily said scientists do not agree climate change is occurring, said it was unclear that President Barack Obama was born in the U.S., and were mistaken about other policy issues debated on the network -- such as the auto industry bailout, the federal stimulus package, and income tax rates.
The pollsters concluded the misguided beliefs were not simply the result of partisan bias, since Democrats who often watched Fox News were also more likely to spout such misinformation.
Fox News may report erroneous information, but viewers are unlikely to abandon the network anytime soon. Conservatives are still the largest ideological group in the U.S., according to Gallup, which reports 40 percent of Americans describe their political views as conservative. The number of conservatives has steadily grown over the past three years, and most Republicans say they identify with the ideology.
Meaning, Fox News may be the nation's most trusted news network for quite some time.