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June 23, 2021updated 30 Sep 2022 10:23am

US news industry ranks bottom in global media trust survey

By William Turvill

Fewer than 30% of Americans trust the news, a report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has found.

The United States came bottom of a list of 46 countries ranked by the proportion of people who said they trust the news in general.

Some 29% of Americans surveyed for the Digital News Report said they could trust “most news most of the time”.

Finland (65%), Kenya (61%) and Portugal (61%) were the countries with the highest levels of trust in the news. After America, Hungary, Slovakia and France (all 30%) were the lowest-scoring countries. See the full ranking here.

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The US trust score improved to 44% when the 2,001 survey participants were asked about the news they consume. 

The report also breaks down trust scores for different media outlets.

Local TV news scored highest, with a 58% trust score in the US. It was followed by CBS News (48%), ABC News (48%), BBC News (47%), the Wall Street Journal (46%) and NBC/MSNBC News (46%).

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Buzzfeed News (30%), Yahoo News (34%) and Fox News (35%) had the lowest trust scores among the 15 sources that were included in the survey.

Fox News had the highest proportion (46%) of participants who said they did not trust it. It was followed by Buzzfeed News (37%), CNN (37%) and NBC/MSNBC (37%).

The US was one of the few countries in the survey that has not experienced an uplift in overall trust since the 2020 Digital News Report.

The Reuters Institute surveyed 92,372 people across 46 countries. Trust in news has grown by six percentage points (to 44%) globally since before the Covid-19 crisis, the study found.

On the US trust issue, the report said: “These findings highlight the challenges of translating 2020’s surging news usage into long-term trust-building in the highly polarised American market.

“Cable news channels Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC have some of the highest levels of distrust.”

More Press Gazette coverage of the Reuters Digital News Report 2021:

Digital News Report shows effect of 'great unbundling' of local newspaper content on value put on by readers

Trust in UK news media boosted by Covid-19 pandemic but still languishing post-Brexit

Small boost in people paying for news, but overall willingness to pay for content remains lowCredit: Shutterstock/ 0meer

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