A major biennial news consumption survey from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press released on August 17, 2008 found that 'virtually every news organization or program has seen its credibility marks decline' and 'Democrats continue to give most news organizations much higher credibility ratings than do Republicans.' In preparing the 130-page report on media credibility, Pew talked to 3,615 adults; the data are comparable to earlier Pew studies that followed the same methodology.
'The public continues to express skepticism about what they see, hear and read in the media,' Pew reported. 'No major news outlet — whether broadcast or cable, print or online — stands out as particularly credible....Over the last 10 years, however, virtually every news organization or program has seen its credibility marks decline.'
In 1998, 42 percent said they could 'believe all or most' of what CNN reported; ten years later, that figure had dropped to 30 percent (though that was the highest of the news organizations polled).
Fewer than one-fourth said they could 'believe all or most of what NBC News (24%), ABC News (24%) and CBS News (22%) report (based on those who can rate those organizations).' Less than one-fifth (18%) said they could 'believe all or most' of what they read in the New York Times.
'Cable news has steadily increased its advantage over the nightly network news. In the current survey, 39% of the public reports watching cable news channels such as CNN, MSNBC or the Fox News Channel regularly, while 29% say they regularly watch one of the big three nightly network news broadcasts.'
Far more Democrats than Republicans watch CNN and MSNBC: '51% of CNN's regular viewers are Democrats while only 18% are Republicans. MSNBC's audience makeup is similar — 45% of regular viewers of MSNBC are Democrats, 18% are Republicans.' The audience for Fox News is more balanced, according to Pew: 'Currently, 39% of regular Fox News viewers are Republicans while 33% are Democrats.'
'Regular viewers of The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,' on cable's Comedy Cental are, not surprisingly, 'much more liberal than the public at large. More than a third of Colbert's regular viewers (36%) describe their political views as liberal and 45% of regular Daily Show viewers say they are liberal.'