CNN Poll Finds Whopping 58 Percent of Americans Don’t Trust Fox News on Coronavirus

Fox Coronavirus

A new CNN poll finds that an overwhelming majority of Americans do not trust Fox News for information about the coronavirus, while a similar majority does trust Cable News Network on that same subject.

On Tuesday, CNN published a poll that featured a raft of coronavirus-related questions, including one about trusted sources of information about the coronavirus outbreak. Respondents were told “I’m going to read you the names of some people and organizations. For each one, please tell me if you generally trust or do not trust the information you get about the coronavirus outbreak from that person or organization,” and asked about their trust in President Donald Trump, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), CNN, and Fox News.

That question produced a number of noteworthy responses. Among the individuals listed, Trump was the least trusted at 36 percent, and the most distrusted at 62 percent. Even among respondents who approve of Trump’s job performance, 21 percent said they do not trust him. And despite spiking disapproval of Trump’s overall handling of the outbreak, his approval rating in the CNN poll is the highest of his presidency at 45 percent — a level he has not reached since shortly after his inauguration.

Hot on Trump’s heels for least trusted and most distrusted was Fox News. A slightly lower percentage — 35 percent — trust the network on coronavirus than Trump, while 58 percent say they “do not trust” the network. That includes 31 percent of people who approve of Trump, but do not trust Fox.

The poll also found that a significant majority of respondents — 55 percent — trust CNN for information about the coronavirus, while 40 percent said they “do not trust” the network.

CNN, a competitor of Fox News, did not poll trust in MSNBC, the broadcast networks, or any other news source.

Fox News host Greg Gutfeld criticized CNN over the poll question, responding to a Brian Stelter tweet of the results by writing “CNN survey asks if you like CNN. Surprise, you think they’re swell! Some other ideas for CNN survey questions:
-does this shirt make me look fat?
-did you notice I’m working out?
-will you be my friend?”

While CNN did commission the poll, it was conducted by SSRS, an independent research company that has an A/B pollster rating from FiveThirtyEight. Respondents were given the opportunity to express their trust or lack thereof in Fox News and CNN, but not in any other news source.

When reached for comment, a Fox News spokesperson referred me to a “list of studies which show that FNC has been a main source for Covid-19 news along with being the most-trusted.”

But no one is disputing that Fox News has a large viewership — although they are dwarfed by the broadcast network news as a “main source for Covid-19 news.”

That’s exactly the problem. The dangerous misinformation and conspiracy theorizing that’s spread on the network is all the more harmful because of that large viewership. It’s a problem Fox News even seems to recognize when contributors who aren’t crucial to their bottom line go too far.

And Fox’s claim to being “most trusted” is pure garbage, unsupported by actual data.

One study they referred to was actually a measurement of trust in news sources by loyal viewers of those news sources. Congratulations, 89 percent of people who watch Fox News regularly trust Fox News.

But they also try to spin other polls based on the fact that mainstream news consumption is fragmented, while conservative news consumption is concentrated.

For example, a recent Suffolk poll asked respondents “What TV news or commentary source do you trust the most?”

Fox got the highest total at 25 percent, but 52 percent chose another source..

And when respondents were asked “What TV news or commentary source do you trust the least?”, Fox News was the clear “winner” at 41 percent, followed distantly by CNN at 24 percent.

This broad dynamic has been true for many years, leading to many “Fox News is The Most Trusted… AND Least Trusted” headlines, but the gap is growing, and the stakes are considerably higher now.

It’s little wonder that a propagandist like Greg Gutfeld would rather you focus on CNN’s decision to ask whether or not people trust Fox News than focus on the dangerous consequences of the misinformation his network spreads.

But he does have a point, if CNN is going to ask about trusted news sources, they should have asked about other outlets to see if anyone else could get above 58 percent distrust. Hell, there’s always OAN.

In fact, Fox News has a very well-respected polling unit that could replicate CNN’s poll question to include a broader selection, and see how Fox fares next to the broadcast news networks or MSNBC or PBS.

I wonder why they haven’t done that.


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