For the second time in a decade, the believability ratings for major news organizations have suffered broad-based declines, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
Believability ratings have fallen significantly for nine of 13 news organizations tested, following a similar downturn in positive believability ratings that occurred between 2002 and 2004. The falloff in credibility affects national newspapers, such as the New York Times and USA Today, all three cable news outlets, as well as the broadcast TV networks and NPR.
Across all 13 news organizations included in the survey, the average positive believability rating (3 or 4 on a 4-point scale) is 56 percent. In 2010, the average positive rating was 62 percent. A decade ago, the average rating for the news organizations tested was 71 percent. Since 2002, every news outlet’s believability rating has suffered a double-digit drop, except for local daily newspapers and local TV news. The New York Times was not included in this survey until 2004, but its believability rating has fallen by 13 points since then.
And partisan differences have grown as Republicans’ views of the credibility of news outlets have continued to erode. Today, there are only two news organizations—Fox News and local TV news—that receive positive believability ratings from at least two-thirds of Republicans. By contrast, Democrats generally rate the believability of news organizations positively; majorities of Democrats give all the news organizations tested ratings of 3 or 4 on the 4-point scale, with the exception of Fox News.