CNN might like to advertise itself as "the most trusted name in news," but when it comes down to it, the centrist cable network's chief rightward rival is better positioned to actually lay claim to that bragging right.
According to a new survey from the Brand Keys research consultancy group, Fox News is the only major news network that's grown more trusted by viewers over the past six months, with all of its nearest competitors experiencing a slight, but undeniable, decline in their own levels of trust.
While every other network dropped at least one or two percentage points between this past February and today (save for ABC, which held steady at 88 percent), viewer trust in Fox crept up a noticeable three percentage points to top out at 89 percent — its second highest level since 2018 when Brand Keys' polling data begins.
Which isn't to say that Fox's viewers' growing sense of trust in the network means it's actually leading the pack in terms of trustworthiness (or given Fox's penchant for, well, spewing total nonsense, at least the sense of trustworthiness). That honor falls, perhaps paradoxically, with the conservative network's ostensibly left-leaning counterpart, MSNBC. According to Brand Key's research, MSNBC still tops out at 90 percent, even after dropping three points over the past six months.
All told, Brand Keys' president Robert Passikoff believes the relative drop in trust in the overwhelming majority of TV news brands correlated with a drop in TV news viewership in general – a sign, he said, that viewing habits may be settling down a bit after the heightened compulsion to consume the news during the COVID pandemic.
"We believe as people returned to a semblance of pre-COVID normalcy, viewers quite literally ‘tuned out’ the news," he explained in a press release accompanying the group's data.
Perhaps most crucially, MSNBC also leads the network pack when it comes to the fundamental goal of the TV news industry as a whole: money. According to an earlier Brand Keys analysis from last month, MSNBC generates $423 per prime-time household reached annually — a significantly higher number than the more widely watched, but evidently less valuable — Fox News.