Take ten – the most and least trusted news sources

The University of Missouri Reynolds Journalism Institute conducted a survey of over 8,700 people last year. The mission was to determine the most trusted and least trusted news sources.

Per a link to the survey from an article in Marketwatch.com, “the questionnaire asked respondents to name three news brands they typically trust and three they don’t. Kearney (the survey leader) took a look at brands that came up at least 10 times and compared how often they were mentioned as trusted versus mentioned as not trusted. These lists show the relationship between positive and negative mentions. The responses were opened ended, and some answers aren’t actual news brands.

Mentioned as trusted:

The Economist
Public television
The Guardian
The Wall Street Journal
Los Angeles Times
The Dallas Morning News

Mentioned as not trusted:

Occupy Democrats
Social media
Huffington Post
The Blaze”

I found these results quite interesting for several reasons. The obvious is an individual who is listed as one of the least trusted sources of news. He would be the one telling everyone to trust only him and other news is “fake news” when it is disagreeable to him. Also, the appearance of Breitbart and Infowars on the least trusted list is telling, as well as Occupy Democrats whose name sounds biased.

On the positive side, the names on the most trusted list are very deserving in my view. Personally, through a combination of trial and error and recommendation, I frequently use five of the top ten sources – Reuters, BBC, NPR, PBS Newshour and The Guardian. I have read occasional articles by The Economist, but need to check them out more. A blogging friend, who passed away a few years ago, suggested I check out Reuters and The Guardian. I remember him well for that.

If you are getting your news from one of the least trusted ten, please stop. I would suggest you give a few of the sources from the top ten most trusted a view. Using multiple good sources helps me learn new things and gain perspective.

With the person mentioned in the bottom ten also occupying the White House, it is important we get our news from good sources and not him. He is deserving of his position on the bottom list with a 69% “mostly false or worse” frequency per Politifacts. It is important to us and a key to our democracy. Who prescribes such – only our founding fathers.

21 thoughts on “Take ten – the most and least trusted news sources

  1. Dear Keith,

    If a reader takes advantage of the variety of sources, they’re less likely to be so entrenched in an ideology where they can’t listen or at least consider another point of view.

    I do refer relatively frequently to the almost all of the top 10 except for the Dallas Morning News. I’ve stopped using the WSJ after its editorial board recommended 2x for President Trump fire the FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller III. i like The Atlantic and the New Yorker as well.

    For Middle East news, I do like Al Jazeera. One of the major complaints that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have against QATAR is this news outlet. For Israeli news, I like Haaretz.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Thanks Gronda. Wise words and good suggestions. The WSJ has been doing some good reporting, which must be distinguished from the editorial. The lack of appearance of The Washington Post and New York Times in the Top Ten is the President making them enemies of the people. Both are doing excellent reporting as well. Keith

    • Lisa, I liked the fact this survey was done in the heartland. I agree that it should get more notoriety. That is my small hope with this post. Keith

  2. Good stuff! I do worry a bit if we can use such sociological research to reach the truth, but these titles ring bells and seem reliable. Interesting that the Wall Street Journal is listed as reliable when we all know it leans precariously to the right. But I know it attempts to find balance and perhaps it does. I have friend who swears by it.

    • Hugh, I just wrote a response to Gronda mentioning the WSJ and the other two largest newspapers, which did not make the Top Ten and why in my view. What is interesting the WSJ broke the Stormy Daniels’ story, but even with their conservative bent, it still did not matter. Keith

    • Susan, he would indeed. My wife and I canceled plans to go out west and stop by when my mother was hospitalized. Sadly, Larry passed before we could make it out. Keith

  3. Sadly there are those who:
    A) Only want to hear, see or read what they believe and so will forever go to Infowars etc
    B) Rage against an organisation because it does not tell things the way they want them to be. The BBC gets attacked by both Right & Left in the UK.

    • Roger, that cognitive dissonance is a powerful draw. When confronted by the truth, it causes such disharmony that folks flock to their biased source to hear that it is OK. This is why too many have a hard time believing Trump lies as much as he really does. On your other point, if the BBC is getting flack from both sides, it is on the right track. Thanks, Keith

      • Quite so Keith.
        One of the reasons I fell out with my supposed natural political home on the Left was because of the ‘outrage’ whenever a BBC reporter asks Jeremy Corbyn a difficult questions or reports bad news about the Labour Party.
        Mirror image of The Alt Right at times……
        Political Orphan am I…..

      • Roger, I think more and more observers become political orphans at some point. One reason I blog is for my own sanity. At least I will try and get it right, whereas too many on the bottom part of this list don’t let that facts get in the way of a good (or sensational) story. Keith

      • It always has been a problem.
        ‘Diary of a Pilgrimage’ by Jerome K Jerome revolves around two English travellers in Europe in the 1890s. It is told in a First Person narrative. At one point they are in debate the height of a cathedral tower:
        He becomes quite angry at this and says he can show me the figures in the guide book.
        ‘The guide book,’ I reply scornfully ‘You’ll believe a newspaper next,’

        (It is quite a wry book, and can be obtained as a free pdf through several sites)

      • Roger, lying and embellishing dates back to the origins of communication. My boss loved to quote his father, “My Daddy used to say believe half of what you read and nothing of what you hear.” Think of this when you listen to our President (who I would equate his tweeting with his speaking). Keith

  4. Good information, Keith! Like you, I would include The Washington Post and the New York Times, as well as ThinkProgress in the list of ‘trusted’ sources. I am surprised that Fox News wasn’t included in the ‘least trusted’ list. Like Gronda, I canceled my subscription to the Wall Street Journal when they suggested the firing of Robert Mueller, though I do acknowledge that they are doing some good reporting in spite of Rupert Murdoch.

    I would agree that many people only read stories that are in line with their pre-established beliefs. It is an easy trap to fall into, and one that I fight on a daily basis.

    • Jill, it goes to show you that even Fox can be better than some of the sources such as Infowars and Breitbart. I learned from the last John Oliver show that a NRATV exists. Oh boy. I think Fox was likely on conservative viewers list as trusted to counterbalance those who see them for what they are. Keith

      • Ah yes, it is all relative, isn’t it? Lately it seems that Fox is trying a little harder to report unbiased news. And yes, one of my readers a week or so ago informed me about the NRATV channel. I haven’t checked it out, for I’m dealing with enough at the moment without having a fit of apoplexy, but I do plan to one of these days. 🙂

      • Jill, it is relative. Do yourself a favor and get the summary version of NRATV from John Oliver. A larger dose will make you ill. Keith

    • Janis, agreed. It seems the more open minded folks tend to get information from multiple sources with good reputations. The Washington Post and New York Times would rank higher – even they don’t always get it right, their journalism and process are of a high caliber. Plus, they admit their mistakes.

      I am blessed to live in a city with a very good local paper – The Charlotte Observer. They and their sister paper The Raleigh News and Observer do exceptional investigative reporting. Thanks, Keith

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