Liberals Trust the Media, Conservatives Don’t, and Nobody Trusts Buzzfeed
Policy + Politics

Liberals Trust the Media, Conservatives Don’t, and Nobody Trusts Buzzfeed

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Liberals and conservatives may not agree on much, but they have reached common ground on one thing: Nobody trusts Buzzfeed. The online repository of cat photos and “Which pop diva are you?” polls came in dead last in the Pew Research Journalism Project’s survey of how much trust Americans have in a variety of news outlets.

The survey, part of the Pew Research Center’s ongoing examination of the partisan divide in the United States, had people rate themselves on a scale from “consistently conservative” to “consistently liberal,” and then asked them to assess the trustworthiness of three dozen different news outlets by placing each in one of three categories: “more trusted than distrusted,” “about equally trusted as distrusted,” and “more distrusted than trusted.”

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Trust Levels of News Sources by Ideological Group

One of the most striking findings is the vast gulf between the number of news sources generally trusted by liberals and those trusted by conservatives. People calling themselves consistently liberal said that they generally trusted 28 of the outlets in the survey. Consistent conservatives, on the other hand, trusted only 8.

The Wall Street Journal was the only publication to win the trust of groups across the entire ideological spectrum. And, it is interesting to note that two of the most widely trusted news sources among Americans are actually British. The Economist magazine and the British Broadcasting Corporation both did well, failing only to earn the trust of consistent conservatives.

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Among the major U.S. television networks, ABC came out the best, also trusted by all but the most conservative respondents. CBS, NBC, and CNN were trusted by liberals and those with “mixed” political views, but lost out among the mostly conservative and consistently conservative.

To circle back to Buzzfeed for a moment, in its defense, the site is more than cat GIFs and listicles. In the past year, the site has hired a stable of award-winning investigative reporters, and has begun producing serious journalism. Sometimes it’s just hard to spot between the Grumpy Cat pictures.

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