Fox News has been touting an outdated survey in order to falsely claim that a national polling firm says that Fox "is the most trusted television news source in the country."
In recent press releases -- including one sent out today announcing the hiring of Ed Henry as the channel's chief White House correspondent -- Fox has made the following claim:
FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service dedicated to delivering breaking news as well as political and business news. A top five cable network, FNC has been the most watched news channel in the country for nearly ten years and according to Public Policy Polling, is the most trusted television news source in the country. Owned by News Corp., FNC is available in more than 90 million homes and dominates the cable news landscape, routinely notching the top ten programs in the genre.
It's true that in January 2010 -- a year-and-a-half ago -- Public Policy Polling released a survey saying that respondents trusted Fox News more than any other outlet the pollster asked about. In that poll, 49 percent of respondents said they trusted Fox News, compared to 37 percent who distrusted it.
But that doesn't mean Fox is still the most trusted news outlet. "They are touting the 2010 version of that poll when the 2011 version of the poll came out differently," says Tom Jensen, the director of PPP.
Indeed, PPP published a new installment of the poll in January 2011 -- with very different results. This time, PPP found that PBS -- which wasn't included in the 2010 poll -- was by far the most trusted outlet. Fifty percent of respondents said they trust PBS, while only 30 percent said they distrust PBS. Meanwhile, trust in Fox dropped to 42 percent, while distrust of Fox increased to 46 percent.
From PPP's write-up of the January 2011 results:
As PPP explained at the time:
A year ago a plurality of Americans said they trusted Fox News. Now a plurality of them don't. Conservatives haven't moved all that much- 75% said they trusted it last year and 72% still do this time around. But moderates and liberals have both had a strong increase in their level of distrust for the network- a 12 point gain from 48% to 60% for moderates and a 16 point gain from 66% to 82% for liberals. Voters between left and center tend to be more trusting of the media across the board, which is why a fair number of them were still rating Fox favorably even a year ago at this time. But it looks like with a lot of those folks it has finally crossed the line to being too political to trust.