Since the mid-1980s, Americans have become increasingly skeptical of what they see, hear, and read in the media, and almost no major news outlet has escaped this trend. For many media outlets there has been little change in public evaluations in the last four years, but ratings for some continue to inch downward.For example, in 1998, 28% of survey respondents said they "believed all or most" of the news they saw on CBS. That percentage has fallen every year since, hitting 22% this year. It's a trend seen in both electronic and print journalism, although the Fox News Channel has seen just a smidgen of that erosion and NPR has actually seen an increase in credibility. Is this simply a reflection of today's "polarized" climate in which people gravitate to news that fits their world-view? Is it a function of having so many sources so readily available?
As a consequence, there is far less variance in public views of the credibility of major news organizations than in the late 1990s. Some of the sources that were viewed as the most credible then have seen their numbers fall substantially, and today no news organization stands out from the crowd as a significantly more reliable source of information.