Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What People . . . Trust

It's well established that trust in various institutions, including the news media, has seen a steady decline. No news there.

But you might think the wacky, wild west world of the Internet would boast higher credibility ratings than the evil mainstream news media.


In the Pew Center's latest big report on media consumption, there's an interesting table on page 60 (of 129 pages!) with the title: Most Online Outlets Not Considered Credible. The highest online ratings go to aggregators like Yahoo or Google, which basically repurpose content from mainstream news media (a fancy way of saying they use other people's stuff rather than do their own news gathering).

The other four online "news" sites don't score quite so well. Asked how often you "believe" these sites, the responses were:

Drudge Report 7%
Salon 7%
Huffington 6%
Slate 4%

Ouch! For comparison, Google got only 13% believability, Yahoo 11%. Most newspapers doubled this, with the Wall Street Journal the highest at 25%.

The Drudge/Salon/Huffington/Slate group does about as well as People Magazine and a little bit better than the National Enquirer.

Says a lot, I think.

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