Americans do not trust the major tv news operations in the country- except for Fox News. Our newest survey looking at perceptions of ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and NBC News finds Fox as the only one that more people say they trust than distrust. 49% say they trust it to 37% who do not. CNN does next best at a 39/41 spread, followed by NBC at 35/44, CBS at 32/46, and ABC at 31/46.
The analysis by the pollsters gets at the heart of the issue for journalists:
These numbers suggest quite a shift in what Americans want from their news. A generation ago Walter Cronkite was the most trusted man in the country because of his neutrality. Now people trust Fox the most precisely because of its lack of neutrality. It says a lot about where journalism is headed.
At play here is more than just the overall poststructural/quantum/God-is-dead generational move away from objectivity and immutable authority. There is a wholesale rejection of authority that is taking place, and Fox has cornered the market on the not-being-an-authority-as-much-as-a-beset-rebellion-against-the-authority style of journalism. It’s a sort of variation on the irony that makes people like Jon Stewart so credible. Plus Fox seems to have more fun.