Remember seeing headlines last year about how PPP's annual survey about the media revealed Fox News Channel was the most trusted name in news? Well, what a difference a year makes. According to PPP's latest survey, Fox is now the most distrusted name in news. And there's a new leader in trustworthiness: PBS, which wasn't in last year's survey.
Here's the toplines from PPP's survey of 632 voters, conducted Jan 14 to 16 with a margin of error of 3.9%:
Fox's trustworthiness rating has fallen by a net margin of sixteen points while NBC has increased by 9. ABC and CBS gained a net of 7 points.
So what's behind the shift? It not survey: although this year's poll had slightly more liberal respondents (18%) than last year's poll (14%), it also had more conservatives (40%) than last year's survey (39%). Those shifts alone cannot explain Fox's fall from grace.
What seems to be going on is that while Fox continues to be trusted by conservatives, moderates and liberals have soured on the channel. Last year, 48% of moderates and 66% of liberals distrusted FNC. This year, 60% of moderates and 82% of liberals distrust the network, so Fox's declining trustworthiness rating reflects shifting attitudes among moderates and liberals.
Given that Fox tailors its programming for conservatives, Fox may not care if nobody other than GOP or tea party types trust them, especially with the 2012 GOP primary on the horizon. But outside of Fox's world, it's good news that other than conservatives, Americans overwhelmingly distrust Fox's programming. Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin and Sean Hannity might rule the right wing noise machine, but this poll is a reminder that the right wing noise machine doesn't rule the rest of America.