Illustrating the ever-widening rift in American politics, a new poll by the Sacred Heart University shows that Fox News is the most trusted news organization (30%), as well as the least trusted (26.2%). That adds up to a 3.8% net trust for Fox. By comparison, CNN was most trusted by 19.5% and least trusted by 8.5%, for an 11% net trust.
Much of the rest of the poll’s results were decidedly negative for the media as a whole. Respondents consider them to be biased and more concerned with ratings than quality reporting. But the most profound observation in the survey, in my view, dealt with public perceptions of the media business and the monopolistic enterprises that dominate it:
“Nearly three-quarters, 71.0%, believed it is very (31.8%) or somewhat (39.3%) important that limits be placed on how many media outlets one company should own. Another 24.7% believe such limits are somewhat unimportant (8.4%) or not at all important (16.3%). Some, 4.4%, were unsure.”
“Over half of all respondents, 56.7%, believed it’s “bad for democracy” that six companies currently own almost all the major media outlets in the United States. Another 30.4% suggested it does not matter while 7.8% indicated it was good for democracy.”
That’s a particularly encouraging response from a survey that also reports majorities who believe that the media is predominantly liberal. With that kind of support for expanding diversity in media ownership, the prospects increase substantially for responsible regulations. This may portend one of the best opportunities for efforts to roll back the destructive consolidation that ensued since the passage of the ill-advised Communications Act of 1996.
Update: Bill O’Reilly cited this study in his Pinheads and Patriots segment. Except the only part he cited was that Fox News is the most most trusted network. He conveniently neglected to mention that it was also the least trusted. Does that make him a pinhead?