U.S. Near Bottom in Public Trust of Newsmedia

Eric Zuesse

According to the most extensive study ever done of the public’s usages of, and trust in, the newsmedia in their country — a study that (in late January early February) scientifically sampled thousands of people in each one of 36 different industrialized countries — the United States scored #28, which was in the bottom 22% of all 36 nations, regarding the public’s trust of the newsmedia. However, the average American had a 53% level of trust in the news-sources he or she is relying on. The country with the highest level of trust in the newsmedia generally was Finland, where 61% of the population trust the nation’s newsmedia. Two countries were tied for the last place in trusting the media among the 36 nations surveyed, both scoring a 23% level of trust: Greece, and Korea. All of the countries that scored below the U.S. (in order increasingly less-trusting than America, down to the very bottom) were: Czech Republic, Hungary, Taiwan, France, Malaysia, Slovakia, and then, Greece and Korea tied at the bottom.

Those figures appear on page 21 of the 136-page study, “Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2017”.

The surveys also asked respondents to rate themselves between far-left and far-right. The degree of political polarization in the United States, is shown on page 38, and turns out to be, by far — actually enormously — the highest polarization of all 36 countries. Whereas, in the other 35 countries, the residents reasonably constitute a nation where there is widespread political agreement (a coherent nation), the residents in the U.S. are more like a nation in ideological civil war. (Perhaps Ukraine, which wasn’t surveyed, is even worse, and maybe that’s why it split apart right after the 2014 U.S. coup there.)

On page 103 of the Reuters Institute’s report, is provided the details of the U.S. findings. This page shows that Americans whose main source of news is NPR are the farthest-left of all audiences, and that Americans whose main source of news is Fox News online (not the TV channel) are the farthest-right of all audiences. Among all 32 “News Brands” constituting the “Top Brands,” the only one that is anywhere near the poitical center (in its audience) is Yahoo! News. Only one among the 32 brands has an audience that rates itself to the right of center: Fox News online. Even the audience of the Fox News TV brand, rate themselves to the left of center. Apparently, more Americans are embarrassed at being categorized as rightists, than are embarrassed at being categorized as leftists. Maybe this has something to do with the phrase in America ‘political correctness’ being commonly associated with ‘liberal’ positions, and also helps explain ‘conservatives’ widespread contempt for ‘political correctness’. (Maybe Fox News on TV seems to them to be sufficiently ‘politically correct’ for them to be able to admit that it’s their main news-source.)

The largest 26 news-audiences in the United States, as indicated in the Reuters study (p.103), are (from the largest on down) Local TV news, Fox News (TV), Regional or local newspaper, CNN, Huffington Post (online-only), NBC/MSNBC (miscategorized as being one not two), ABC, CBS, CNN online, Fox News online, New York Times online, local radio news, local TV news online, BuzzFeed News (online-only), BBC, Washington Post online, NPR, local newspaper online, NBC/MSNBC online, MSN (online-only), ABC online, BBC online, New York Times print, PBS, USA Today, and Washington Post.

https://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/breitbart.com shows the online right-wing news Breitbart as being #58 in the U.S., and Huffington Post as being #66, but Breitbart scored in the Reuters survey as being #33 of all news sources, having a far smaller audience than did the #2-ranked online news site Huffington Post (which scored so high at Reuters). Perhaps that’s because Breitbart is proudly ‘politically incorrect’ and maybe a result of this is that many of its users don’t want to admit that it’s their main news-source.

The farthest ‘left’ news-source amongst the 32 top media, NPR, is actually solidly neoconservative; and was gung-ho, in 2002 and up to the invasion in 2003, for Republican George W. Bush’s push, to invade Iraq. National Public Radio invited many proponents (and almost no opponents) of invasion — such as the Brookings Institution’s Ken Pollack and Michael O’Hanlon, and the Bush Administration’s own Eliot Cohen — onto their shows, arguing that it would be essential to invade Iraq. Furthermore, the Democratic Presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, was among the most neoconservative politicians in America, but was clearly preferred by NPR against Donald Trump, who was panned by all neocons, even by Republican ones, and who emerged as a neocon only after becoming President (though still not yet as much of a neocon as Hillary Clinton always was). And, for example, Eliot Cohen has been an invited ‘expert’ guest on NPR several times recently (such as this and this and this and this and this) talking against Trump, and against Trump’s least-neocon Cabinet-member Rex Tillerson, using extremely disparaging terms against them, such as “probably the worst ever” and “reprehensible.” When Democrats hear this ‘liberal’ news-outlet (NPR) lend its air waves to moralizing super-neocons attacking a Republican President for not being sufficiently neocon, then whatever is left of the left, in mainstream U.S. ‘news’media, has become too small even to discern at all, other than perhaps a few liberal bumper-stickers, to place onto listeners’ cars. But if this is liberal fascism, then is the conservative variety necessarily worse? So, America now is consumed now with one ethnic group attacking another — that’s what this ‘democracy’ is consumed by: distractions, and inter-ethnic conflicts. As if the voracious grabbing by the nation’s super-rich and resultant soaring inequality of power in this country, isn’t a problem that the poorer 99.99% of Americans could unite together against. But, after all, in America, ‘liberal’ and ‘left’ are now nothing more than bumper-stickers. They can always be heard at NPR. And, at some other ‘news’media? Not so much. (And, apparently, not at all at Fox News online.)


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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  • ICFubar

    Understanding that the American federal government has now given itself the right to propagandize those it runs herd over, and that this government is controlled by a shadow government that also controls the deep state ‘continuity of agenda’ agencies of this government, and that this shadow government also controls all of the MSM and various other news sites within and without the alternate media via its own Trusts and Foundations it is a wonder that the ‘trust ratings’ of news media in American is even this high in the standings.

    To have trust in a news media site one must have rapport with the site which is built over time. It takes time to discern the honesty of those reporting on events and in understanding how they use facts to support their world view to enable one to use critical thought in assessing what is being presented. Once one develops being able to assess how news is presented at a given news site it is not too difficult to fathom what that site is suggesting as their truth. Eventually one finds certain news sites they are comfortable with as presenters of truth in reporting but still with a critical eye as to any ideological slant.

    ‘The truth is such an important entity it must always be accompanied by a bodyguard of lies.”

  • Rehmat

    I’m sure, Eric Zuesse being a part of the propaganda he is trying to discredit – knows who runs the ‘National Public Radio (NPR)’. He is no other than my fellow Canadian Jeffrey A. Dvorkin, a fanatic Zionist Jew.

    In the West, the journalists are required to follow organized Jewry’s guidelines to report the news.

    The Coastal Post, a small monthly newspaper in West Marin county, was nearly closed down after 32 years of publication in 2008 for its policy of upholding the “freedom of press” including the criticism of Israel and Zionism. Some of its readers, both Jews and non-Jews, have not liked paper’s equating Zionism with Judaism for good reason as both have nothing in common. The Coastal Post became the target of a smear campaign lead by the powerful Jewish lobby group, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for publishing Carter and the Swarm in May 2008 issue. The article was written by Israeli-Russian Jew writer Israel Shamir. The publisher of the paper Don Deane labeled an ‘anti-Semite’ and the paper’s advertisers were intimidated. Don published an apology in February 2009 in case his paper hurt the feelings of the Jewish community. A defiant Israel Shamir wrote a response to ADL’s whining about his article.

  • Jed Grover

    George H. W. Bush negotiated NAFTA gave it Bill for signature and a vacuum occurred with a “big bang” followed by a “sucking sound”. Jobs disappeared creating a clanking noise in the Economic Engine. To disguise the noise Billy from Arkansas recruited some Casino mechanics and deregulated letting the bulls run free creating a sh#t load of fiat instruments with a new line of jobs to fill the void.

    In 2000 the fraudulent elections presented a new savior hand picked out there in that dark Bohemian Forest by a bunch of misogynist Anglo pud-pounding men wearing dresses dancing around the base of a giant owl. Entitled King George II decided to beef up the engine so he and his neocon motor heads came up with a keen idea. They decided that fear would be the core value for creating a lucrative new emerged market. They drafted a lengthy document of Full Spectrum funded by two Tax Reforms and fictionalized their crafty new idea of “war on terror”. They re-insured three towering Tycoon atrocities naked to the eye (eye sore) and during the shock & awe grieving the new War on Terror created more jobs than a mosquito infested pond. Cha Ching but a bubble burst back in 2008 and once again a “sucking sound” but this time jobs went swirling down the drain.

    BeBe’s excitement went unwavered as his Economic Engine roared churning out all sorts of War and Terror fancy gadgets. The “false flagger” was quite the tap dancer at the UN conference this week. I expect to see him on dancing with stars sometime soon.

    Obama unfortunately was in over his head and grabbed King George II’s baton and now the War on Terror jobs are deeply ingrained into the Economic Engine. Put put put as we ride along in self perpetuating motion “House of Cards” over a structurally unsound bridge. Don’t look down …… there are alligator infested waters with vipers slithering on the river banks. I wished they had maintained this bridge. I hear major cracking sounds.

    How did we get here? I’ve already asked God and he responded …… I sent Christians here to look after his/her fellow man but the ruling majority sold their souls to some idiot named Lucifer as everyone turned their heads to look the other way to avoid guilt …… so you’re on your own collective free will. Work it out sucker. Orwellian illusion began with CIA and “not in the best public interest” corrupt Newsmedia disguising the current Corporate/Government Mafia.

    • “Jobs disappeared creating a clanking noise in the Economic Engine.”
      Similarly, the former Confederacy attracted — still do — jobs from the rest of the nation by supporting non-unionization and the freedom to pay lower wages. And decades of wage depression has worked really well for the economy.
      For that matter, NAFTA didn’t force anyone to move any jobs out of the US. Employers had an opportunity to be more greedy and took advantage of it. Meanwhile, I’m sure if the price of bringing jobs back is working for Third World wages, I’m sure it would be a great thing, right?

  • Given the corporate media’s failure at actual reporting, any number much above zero is (or should be) understandable.