A new survey from the Brookings Institute found that Jon Stewart and The Daily Show are now more trusted than MSNBC to provide accurate information.
The Brookings Institute survey found that while Fox News dominates with Republicans and conservatives, there is no one unifying source among Democrats and liberals. In fact, MSNBC has fallen behind The Daily Show on the trust scale with all Americans, Independents, Liberals, and Democrats.
Here is the chart from Brookings:
Jon Stewart is trusted by 8% of Americans. MSNBC is sixth, and is trusted by 5% of Americans. Independents trust The Daily Show almost three times more than they trust MSNBC (11%-4%). Liberals trust Stewart more by a margin of 17%-10%, and MSNBC barely edges The Daily Show among Democrats (10%-9%).
These numbers are more evidence that MSNBC’s move to go nerd/wonk with their lineup has been a complete failure. The addition of a group of pseudo-Maddow hosts to MSNBC lineup has actually made the network less trusted than when opinionated hosts like Keith Olbermann were anchoring high profile programs. Supposedly, an emphasis on wonk would lead to a more fact based network, but viewers are trusting MSNBC less.
Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show is one of the smartest news based programs in the country. Stewart’s ability to blend information with satire, and the fact that his loyalty is to the joke, has built a great deal of credibility with his audience. The new data raises the question of who is real opinion maker on the left? Jon Stewart could very well be more influential than MSNBC. There is a reason why President Obama appears on The Daily Show, but rarely turns up exclusively on the Lean Forward network. The real power to influence the left resides on Comedy Central not MSNBC.
The programming itself has become a redundant mix of talking heads with too little reporting on the news. The shows on MSNBC look alike, sound alike, and in many cases are boring. There are still nuggets of good work to be enjoyed. Rachel Maddow is still delivering a quality broadcast every night, and Chris Matthews is the ultimate love him/hate him host, but MSNBC contains an uncomfortable mix of old school liberals (Ed Schultz and Al Sharpton) and wonder boy wonks (Ronan Farrow and Chris Hayes).
What is missing at MSNBC is a reliable and trustworthy newscast. The kiddie wonks are running MSNBC into the ground. If the network doesn’t shift course and recapture their viewers, things are going to get worse.
It speaks volumes about the state of MSNBC, and the media in general, that the most trusted name in news for many Americans is a guy who anchors a fake newscast.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association