HAMDEN -- In a time when TV news personalities are getting caught in their own scandals, it appears viewers trust their local stations more than the big networks.
The Quinnipiac University Poll surveyed American voters about the trustworthiness of TV news media.
FOX News Channel appeared to be the top network, with 20 percent of American voters saying that they trust FOX's journalistic coverage "a great deal" and 35 percent saying "somewhat." It was also rated the "most trusted" network according to 29 percent of voters. FOX was followed by CNN, at 22 percent, and NBC and CBS, which both tied at 10 percent.
Scores for other networks are:
- ABC News – 14 percent “a great deal” and 50 percent “somewhat”
- CBS News – 14 percent “a great deal” and 50 percent “somewhat”
- NBC News – 14 percent “a great deal” and 46 percent “somewhat”
- MSNBC – 11 percent “a great deal” and 41 percent “somewhat”
- CNN – 18 percent “a great deal” and 43 percent “somewhat”
The perception that FOX News "leans right" is somewhat reflected in the poll. Thirty-five percent of republicans said they trust FOX "a great deal" while only 11 percent of democrats responded the same way. There was also an age gap for FOX: 14 percent of younger voters (18-34) trust FOX "a great deal" compared to 28 percent older voters (55-plus).
Local news did even better than the networks.
“FOX News may be the most trusted in the network and cable news race, but they all take a back seat to your local news,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
When asked about how much voter trusted local news, 19 percent said "a great deal" and 52 percent said "somewhat."
"We did this because of the problems that Brian Williams, and now Bill O'Reilly, had," Malloy said on the Fox CT Morning News.
In February, Brian Williams began a six-month suspension, without pay, from his job as anchor on the NBC Nightly News following revelations that he exaggerated personal stories from an Iraq War mission in 2003.
Forty-two percent of those polled said that Williams should be allowed to return to his job as NBC anchor, compared to 35 percent who said he should not.
After the Williams controversy broke, FOX News Host Bill O'Reilly was been challenged for his depiction of past reporting in El Salvador and Argentina.
It appears, though, that many people haven't caught wind of the O'Reilly controversy. Of those polled, 51 percent said they haven't heard enough about the scandal to decide whether O'Reilly should be fired (12 percent), suspended (11 percent) or allowed to continue (23 percent).
Viewers appear to be nostalgic about the so-called "golden age" of journalism.
"American news watchers long for an era where the person in the big chair could be truly trusted,” Malloy said.
When asked about today's TV news compared to the news in the days of Walter Cronkite, 48 percent of voters said that today's information from network TV is "less" trustworthy and 35 percent said it was "about as trustworthy." Only 7 percent said today's information from network TV news was "more" trustworthy.
Brian Williams came up again when the poll shifted topics to who should replace Jon Stewart when he leaves Comedy Central's "Daily Show."
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