In a rare twist of good news, it appears that Americans’ trust in news organizations has actually improved somewhat in 2023, according to recent findings from market research firm YouGov. However, few can agree on what media outlets they trust—particularly when it comes to outlets trusted by both Democrats and Republicans.
YouGov’s survey, which sought to gauge trust in media by asking Americans which broadcast, print and digital news sources they trust and distrust most, found that Americans’ overall trust in the news has gone up in 2023. The survey discovered there was an increase in net trust in media organizations compared to the same survey YouGov conducted last year, with respondents reporting a 53-point net trust in news outlets in 2023, vs. a 41-point net trust score in 2022.
The problem is that few Americans agree on what media outlets they consider trustworthy. Of the 56 prominent media organizations listed in the survey this year, YouGov found that the Weather Channel ranks as the most trusted news source among Americans overall and one of the few media organizations considered trustworthy by a majority of Americans polled, earning a net-trust score of +53.
PBS came in at a distant second, revealing a net-trust score of +30, followed by the BBC (+29), The Wall Street Journal (+24), Forbes (+23) and the Associated Press (+22). Somewhere in the middle were USA Today (+21), CBS (+20), The Guardian (+15) and The New York Times (+12). Near the bottom were CNN (+7), Newsmax (+6) and MSNBC (+5) and bottoming out the list were Slate (+3) and Fox News (+3), The Daily Beast (+1) and HuffPost (+1).
Several fringe outlets on the list earned net-trust scores so low they were in the negative. The Daily Kos (-1), Breitbart News (-3), the Daily Caller (-4) and Infowars (-16) comprised this year’s media rogue’s gallery of the worst of the worst.
No surprise: The YouGov survey discovered a massive gap between the news sources trusted among those who identify as Democrat and those who identify as Republican. Very few media organizations—aside from the Weather Channel, apparently—are considered trustworthy by sizable proportions of both political parties. And some outlets reveal massive chasms in trust, depending on the respondent’s political affiliation. For example, there’s a 91-point difference between Democrats’ net trust in MSNBC (+54) and Republicans’ net trust in that network (-37). There’s a 92-point difference between how Democrats view CNN (+55) and how Republicans view that network (-37). There’s an 82-point difference in how Democrats see the New York Times (+53) and how Republicans see that newspaper (-30).
When it comes to social media, the survey found Americans generally hold a net negative view of the trustworthiness of news shared on those platforms. However, Americans under 45 are generally much more likely than older Americans to trust news shared on social sites. Republicans are also overwhelmingly more unlikely to trust news shared on social media platforms unless it comes from conservative sites like Truth Social or Parler.
YouGov’s “2023 Trust in Media” report was based on a national survey of 1,500 U.S. adults selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel. Surveys were conducted in April.