MINNEAPOLIS — A recent poll of cable news network viewers found that CNN’s regular audience is far more skeptical of the political news they receive than Fox News fans.
In the poll published Wednesday by Rasmussen Reports, 1,000 likely voters were asked to describe their media viewing habits. Seventy-five percent said they watch at least some form of cable news each week, with 42 percent saying they most frequently watch Fox News, 35 percent usually choosing CNN, and 19 percent favoring MSNBC.
An even 50 percent of frequent Fox News viewers agreed with a followup question, “Do you trust the political news you are getting?” By comparison, 43 percent of frequent MSNBC viewers and just 33 percent of those who mostly watch CNN said they trust their political news.
According to a November survey by Rasmussen, 37 percent of voters still say they get most of their news from cable news networks. Voters in general were highly critical of the election coverage, with the strongest criticism coming from the 7 percent of those polled who said they mostly get their news from social media, rather than TV.
While once considered a pioneer of 24-hour TV journalism, CNN has faced criticism and accusations of bias over its political news coverage. During the 2016 election cycle, some viewers and analysts claimed CNN focused too much attention on the candidacy of Donald Trump, even to the point that it negatively impacted other candidates. Trump’s former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, worked at CNN for months as an on-air personality while maintaining notably close ties to the candidate.
In April, Bernie Sanders supporters protested outside of CNN’s offices in Hollywood, claiming the network’s reporters ignored their candidate. In October, CNN cut ties with frequent contributor-turned-interim Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile after WikiLeaks’ archive of Hillary Clinton’s emails revealed Brazile gave Clinton advance notice of debate questions.
Since the election, CNN has been quick to embrace President-elect Trump. On Dec. 2, CNN reporter Cristina Alesci praised Trump’s advisory board of wealthy CEOs, calling it a “historic” gathering. She continued:
“I don’t think that I’ve ever seen anything quite like this before. … Like I said before, this list really represents a bipartisan group of people, so he’ll have some very diverse viewpoints to tap into.”
The president-elect has surrounded himself with a cadre of wealthy advisors and Cabinet members, prompting many critics to question just how much diversity they’ll actually bring to the table. “The very definition of corporate media diversity: the entire spectrum of opinion, from GE to GM,” quipped Steve Rendall, a reporter for the media analysis organization Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, on Dec. 2.
In September, FAIR also accused CNN of spreading a false claim about Black Lives Matter protests being stoked by “outside agitators” in Charlotte, North Carolina, which quickly went viral among conservatives.
From their close ties to politicians to the apparent agendas pushed by paid pundits, viewers are wise to question the political news they receive from any major TV news network.