In Fox We (Don’t) Trust

Polling organization Public Policy Polling released their annual poll of TV news trust and discovered Fox News is simultaneously the most trusted and the least trusted television network in America.

According to the results, 41 percent of voters trust Fox and 46 percent of voters do not trust Fox. In telephone interviews conducted between Jan. 31 and Feb. 4, 800 respondents were asked, “Which TV news outlet do you trust the most?”. They chose Fox as the most trusted, followed by PBS, CNN and ABC. The least trusted was also Fox then MSNBC, CNN and Comedy Central.

This poll is not entirely surprising. Fox News is well known for its conservative and right-leaning stance and has been accused of bias multiple times in the past. However, political polarization is a growing problem for this nation. Americans are more divided along political lines than ever in the last 25 years. With a country split between the right and the left, it is extremely imperative that viewers and voters receive the most accurate, fair, and objective reporting.

Yet Fox is not the only network favoring one side over another. According to a 2012 Pew study, MSNBC had more partisan biased news than Fox during the last presidential election. Their ratio of negative to positive stories of Republican candidate Mitt Romney was 23-to-1. To contrast, Fox’s ratio for President Obama was 8-to-1.

Networks do the American public an injustice by muddling a story, ignoring the facts, or completely disregarding an opposing view. It is not acceptable when the 24 hour news cycle functions in a manner where a viewer can watch the same story on two different networks and receive completely contradicting reports. When viewers turn on the news, they should hear the truth, and not an altered version that falls in line with their political beliefs.

Are some news outlets becoming political propaganda machines?  Has objective reporting been sacrificed for the sake of ratings and corporate profit? How can the average American be able to recognize unfair and biased coverage?


3 Comments on “In Fox We (Don’t) Trust”

  1. Bias among news organizations has become an increasingly apparent phenomenon. Outlets such as Fox News and MSNBC need to focus on providing clear and objective news instead of maintaining their political identity. It proves how truly divided American politics has become that Fox can be labeled as the most and least trusted organization simultaneously. I think print and broadcast distributers should provide more variety in the forms of commentators they provide. Most straight news stories remain objective, but organizations will hire commentators that almost exclusively follow similar political leanings instead of providing an open forum for opposing viewpoints. Viewers also perpetuate the problem by only following news that fits their party stance.

  2. I think that the disparity between the public’s perception of Fox reflects a politically divided public. Although Fox brands itself as “fair and balanced,” I think it is say to say that most people realize that it is a conservatively slanted network. I still believe that American democracy promotes a marketplace of ideas, but unfortunately these ideas tend to be divided among stations. Both sides are voiced, but one must recognize that they might not both not be in the same news story.

  3. Eli Watkins says:

    Watching MSNBC or Fox News, or reading sites like The Huffington Post or Red State, provides you with content more fitting for a pep rally than a representative democracy. The news there is often presented as an argument between strawmen. These unsubstantial stories serve only to make the audience feel better about themselves and more secure in their political “team”. Not all major news organizations have gone this route in a quest for profit and ratings. Instead many trend towards sensationalism and entertainment rather than partisanship or propaganda.

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