Weather Channel

A new poll from market research and data analytics firm YouGov says that, for the third year in a row, The Weather Channel comes out on top for trustworthiness with American media consumers.

According to YouGov’s “Trust in Media 2024” study, The Weather Channel had a +43 net trust score (meaning that survey respondents were 43 percentage points more likely to call it trustworthy than to call it untrustworthy). Its closest competitors were two publicly supported media platforms—the BBC (+25) and PBS (+22)—and the Wall Street Journal (also at +22).

The other end of the scale was occupied by such expected cellar dwellers as the National Enquirer (-44), Infowars (-18), Breitbart News (-13) and, oddly enough, Comedy Central (-12).

YouGov Trust in Media Survey

When the audience is broken down between Democrats and Republicans, however, it’s a different story. While The Weather Channel remains near the top of the heap with Democrats (+58), it is topped by PBS at +60, and is tied with ABC, NBC and CBS at +58. The BBC comes in at +57. Republicans gave The Weather Channel only a +36 trust score, with the BBC at +3 and the others slipping into negative territory—PBS at -10, ABC at -18, CBS at -20 and NBC at -23.

Republican respondents were much more sparing in their positive verdicts on media platforms. After The Weather Channel (whose +36 trust score still put it at #1), two Newscorp platforms were next: Fox Business Channel (+30) and Fox News (+28). They were followed by Newsmax (+21), OAN (+13) and Forbes (+13).

Not surprisingly, these platforms were mostly low scorers with Democrats. With the exception of Forbes (+35), they all got negative scores—OAN and Newsmax at -18, Fox Business Channel at -21 and Fox News at -34.

As regards which platform is regarded as the most liberal, that prize goes to MSNBC. Comedy Central reappears in the study as second-most-liberal platform, with CNN, HuffPost and the Los Angeles Times rounding out the top five. Most conservative? Fox News tops the list, with Fox Business Channel, Breitbart News, Newsmax and OAN following behind.

The big takeaway? The trend toward distrust of the media by Republicans and far more trust of media platforms by Democrats continues unabated. In addition, media consumers, perhaps not surprisingly, are more likely to trust the platforms they are most familiar with. For example, people who frequently watch The Weather Channel give it a +73 net trust score, far above the +43 recorded in the overall study.

The study also documents the increasing shift toward social media as a primary news source. While 68 percent of respondents over 45 said they had consumed news via TV in the past month, 66 percent of those from 18 to 44 said they had done so via social media. And print’s decline does not appear to be slowing. Only 21 of those over 45 had cracked open a print newspaper and that number slid to 11 percent for those from 18 to 44.

YouGov’s study was conducted between May 10-17.