Most Trusted News Source Is Bit of a Surprise

52% of Americans trust the Weather Channel in latest YouGov poll
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2022 11:47 AM CDT
Updated Apr 16, 2022 2:05 PM CDT
Most Trusted News Source Is ... the Weather Channel?
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/m-gucci)

When it comes to the weather, most of us are on the same side of things—or, at least we're all watching and believing the same reports. That's according to YouGov, a UK market research firm whose latest poll on the media found that the most trusted news source among Americans is one that's somewhat surprising: the Weather Channel. In the survey of 1,500 US adults taken March 26 to March 29, the network was found to be trustworthy by 52% of respondents, and it's also the channel that found the most agreement between Republicans and Democrats: Half of the former trust it, while 62% of the latter do. Behind the Weather Channel are PBS (trusted by 41% of all Americans), the BBC (39%), and the Wall Street Journal (38%).

What YouGov calls the "most politically polarizing" media group is CNN, which sees 65% of Democrats rate it trustworthy, while only 11% of GOPers do—a more than 50-point abyss between the two. The New York Times doesn't fare much better in terms of a partisan gap, with 63% of Democrats trusting it, compared to the Republicans' 14%. Anderson Cooper of CNN, meanwhile, is the most trusted news personality among all US adults (of those who say they're familiar with who he is), followed by ABC News' David Muir (40%) and Fox News' Bret Baier (39%).

"Truth is the first casualty" is Elon Musk's somber assessment of the poll. Others are bothered by the still-significant discrepancy between Democrats and Republicans, even on their shared most trusted network. "The Republican skepticism regarding the Weather Channel is hard to stomach for a data guy like me," one demographer notes. Which leads to the question: Is the Weather Channel's trustworthiness a matter of perception or actual factual accuracy? WRAL doesn't answer that exact inquiry, but in an analysis from April 2021, the station dove into how accurate meteorological reports are, coming to the conclusion that "while the forecast may not always be perfect, forecast accuracy is a lot higher than many people are willing to admit." More here on that. (More Weather Channel stories.)

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