Pew: Millennials Distrust Fox News More Than Any Other News Source

A new study by the Pew Research Center reveals some striking generational disparities between America’s news consumers. The study’s results cast the light of perspective on the marketing hype of Fox News, who brag incessantly about being the highest rated cable news network.

The ratings boast has always been a specious act of puffery by Fox News considering that their numbers are achieved by herding all of the wingnut demographic into a single corral, while the remaining TV viewing universe is dispersed to the rest of the available channels. What’s more, Fox’s ratings represent a tiny portion (about 1%) of the nation’s population on their best showing.

Go Fox Yourself

What we learn from the Pew study is that Fox’s appeal among young viewers sets a low water mark for the network. Millennial respondents in the study say that they trust Fox News less than any other news source. A plurality of 43% distrust Fox News. That’s significantly more than the next lowest source, Rush Limbaugh, who is also distrusted by far more millennials (32%) than trust him (4%). The 43% of Millennials who distrust Fox is nearly three times the number who distrust MSNBC (15%).

Looking at the numbers from the other direction, the percentage who trust Fox (35%) is less than CNN (60%), MSNBC (37%), and 4 to 12 points less than the three broadcast news networks. Even sources like the Daily Show and Al Jazeera, whose sample sizes are smaller, are still rated with more viewers that trust them than distrust them, compared to Fox’s net distrust results.

The numbers aren’t much better in other demographic groupings. Gen-Xers trust Fox News less than every other source except for Limbaugh. And the same thing is true for the Baby Boomers who are Fox’s best demo. With a median age of 68.8 years, Fox’s audience is over six years older than either CNN or MSNBC. It’s even worse for their top rated program (Bill O’Reilly) who’s average viewer is over 72 years old.

In addition to the poor showing by Fox News, the rest of the study’s bottom dwellers are primarily right-wing radio talkers, Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck.

From a business perspective, Fox News has to be deeply concerned about the next generation of viewers. If their opinions remain constant they are not going to be tuning in to Fox. However, putting this in a political context is more complex. While Millennials clearly have an aversion to Fox’s conservative programming, they are also less likely to participate in the electoral process. On the other hand, about half of the older Baby Boomers are fond of Fox, and they are more reliable voters. So Republicans may have some short-term advantage from that, but looking forward to the next generation of seniors is going to be a problem for Fox and the Republican Party.

Of Course , all of that may change if Millennials become more active politically due to factors like the first African-American president, or the first woman, or Latino, or candidates who support marriage equality and marijuana legalization. And Fox has been busy alienating all of the fastest growing voter blocs while simultaneously insulting their base of seniors with derogatory swipes at Hillary Clinton’s age. Even before this Pew study, polls have shown Fox News as both the most and least trusted news network.

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The technological platforms for news are also drawing more young people. So participation by those connected to Facebook and Twitter will likely increase. In short, the future is a mystery. What isn’t mysterious is that Fox News is rapidly becoming a universally hated network. Its biases and brazenly dishonest reporting are being rejected in ever greater numbers. It is a fading entity whose prospects are dwindling with time. And that’s good news for democracy and America and the world.


10 thoughts on “Pew: Millennials Distrust Fox News More Than Any Other News Source

  1. Link to this item has been posted to MM’s Pew Poll thread at 8:20p CDT with:

    “The ratings boast has always been a specious act of puffery by Fox News considering that their numbers are achieved by herding all of the wingnut demographic into a single corral, while the remaining TV viewing universe is dispersed to the rest of the available channels.”

    as the tease.

  2. And this is why we go to the BBC for our news. And another reason why we’re really going to miss Jon Stewart.

  3. And this is why the GOP is pushing all their “voter ID” laws. Or should I say Polling Tax laws. Keep them kids from voting your butts out.

    And those who don’t think that the ID laws are not Polling Tax if you have to pay something to vote it is a polling tax. You have to pay for ID, hence tax. And reminder Polling Tax is illegal.

    • Darevsek, I don’t think a voter ID law will impact the Millennial crowd as you suggest – they are educated and I’m sure generally have a drivers license or some other ID that works since it’s just part of life for them and us GenXers. And Mark thinks I’m ridiculous with some of my posts – yours is so out there and unrelated to the topic posted it’s embarrassing. But I’m sure you’ll get a pass since you agree with him.

      • I only think you’re ridiculous because you keep embarrassing yourself with ignorant comments like this one. Do you even bother to Google before you post such crap?

        Voter ID Laws Take Aim At College-Student Voters

        Republicans are trying to make it harder for students to vote by closing polling places on campuses and prohibiting the use of college IDs to prove residency. This is a major issue for Millennials who the GOP would like to disenfranchise like they do minorities, women, and seniors.

        • I wasn’t trying to even justify these laws – If that is their goal – to disenfranchise students – it seems like a waste of time doing it this way but if that is their goal then whatever. Oh well, I guess I’m wrong.

  4. The entire “conservative movement” is rapidly painting itself into a cultural/ideological corner where it will likely shrivel and die… eventually. But make no mistake, they will do as much damage as they can, while they can. The more clever rightwing strategists are well aware of the fact that they are ultimately doomed by demographics, but there’s nothing they can do now but double-down on the crazy and push bigger & increasingly absurd lies to their increasingly senile &/or demented supporters.

    Much of the damage they’ve caused by propaganda, gerrymandering, court-packing, etc… won’t be undone until we stage a revolt, or at least a major overhaul of our (formerly) democratic institutions (including the 2-party system) but until then, we can leverage our strengths against their weaknesses.

    RWNJs are terrified of change. Much of the “change” they’ve always dreaded has already come to pass: gay marriage, legal cannabis, OWS and other mass movements against predatory corporatism & war-profiteering, declining religious belief, black people in positions of power, etc… And those of us who are still rational know that the future will bring more rapidly-evolving change, which we must embrace and try to guide away from the forces of anti-enlightenment. The Right can’t change and they can’t learn from their mistakes, so they’ll continue to chase their tails in a frenzy of rabid hate & fear.

    It is the business of the future to be dangerous… so stay frosty, keep your wits about you, and be the trouble you want to see in the world.

    • Demographic concerns assume people maintain a constant ideological view as they get older. On some things I’m sure you’re right. On others, who knows. And with respect to conservatism – that is broader than the GOP of today. Yes – today’s GOP has a warped view of conservatism that doesn’t resemble reality or conservatism as I see it or as it was prior to GW Bush and Karl Rove.
      Fox News will probably die but that’s because their lies and propaganda are becoming more obvious and annoying and I don’t think it will be tolerated by the younger ones – or at least I hope they don’t tolerate it so we can move on to bigger and better things and we can focus on getting our lives and freedoms back.

      • People do change their political opinions and attitudes over time, but I think it depends on personality types as well as social environment. I don’t really believe the old cliche about people getting more conservative as they mature. I’m 56 and I’m pretty much the same radical, free-thinking misfit I was at age 16, just better informed… and certainly not more conservative.

        But you’re quite right about the GOP being far, far away from the old-school conservatism of the past. There are some conservative/libertarian intellectuals I respect alot: John W. Dean, Michael Shermer, Andrew J. Bacevich, Bruce Bartlett (etc) but they are pretty far off the reservation by now.

        When I dump on the “conservative movement” I’m referring to the pack of hyenas that bundled & branded the barge-load of bullshit that has plagued us since the early 1980s: Reaganomics, Culture War, the K Street Project, Hate Radio, politicization of the NRA, the Bush Doctrine, racial scapegoating, Birtherism, anti-environmentalism, bureaucratic sabotage, and so much more. Fox has helped bring all these toxic nutbags together, forming what looks very much like a circular firing squad. All they need now is a strong authoritarian leader to tell ’em when to pull the trigger.

        • Your last paragraph is what I try to understand when liberals at this site use the word conservative. I generally think it’s used by some (Mark) to misrepresent the actual ideology in an effort to convince others how bad it is when it’s not even what is being practiced. The Sarah Palins, John McCains, Lindsay Grahams, Rick Santorums, GW Bushes, Dick Cheneys and others completely misrepresent what many of us who have been conservative for a long time actually believe – and is exactly the reason why a “Tea Party” exists. Thanks for the clarification. We have a common enemy and it’s whatever today’s GOP is practicing in the name of conservatism and the corporatism that has infected both parties in the pursuit of power.

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