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News Media's Credibility Ratings Have Slipped Sharply, Survey Says

"Believability ratings have fallen significantly for nine of 13 news organizations tested," the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reports today.

Its latest national survey signals that "the falloff in credibility affects news organizations in most sectors: national newspapers, such as T he New York Times and USA Today, all three cable news outlets, as well as the broadcast TV networks and NPR."

Overall, Pew reports, a national survey of 1,001 adults last month showed that on average for the 13 news organizations:

/ Pew Research Center
Pew Research Center

-- 56 percent of those interviewed had "positive" opinions about the news outlets' believability, while 44 percent had "negative" opinions.

-- Those compare to ratings of 62 percent (with positive views) and 38 percent (negative) in Pew's 2010 survey.

"A decade ago," Pew adds, "the average [positive] rating for the news organizations tested was 71 percent."

At present, according to Pew's survey, "local TV news" is the most trusted outlet, with a 65 percent positive rating vs. 35 percent negative. Tied at the bottom are Fox News and USA Today, which each got ratings of 49 percent positive vs. 51 percent negative. The New York Times also ended up in the negative zone: 49 percent gave it positive ratings vs. 50 percent negative.

NPR was viewed positively by 52 percent; negatively by 47 percent. Two years ago, NPR got a 60 percent positive rating.

The margins of error on the results range from +/- 3.6 percentage points for the full survey of 1,001 adults to +/- 4 percentage points for the ratings given to NPR (which have the largest margin of error because of the smaller pool of respondents — 796 — that said they could rate the organization).

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.