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  • Media Americans Trust Colors Attitudes Toward Corona Response

    Published on April 16, 2020

    New Rochelle, NY:  With the majority of Americans under stay-at-home orders, it is no surprise that people are watching more TV news than ever. According to Horowitz Research’s COVID-19 study, two-thirds (63%) of Americans report watching a little or a lot more news than before the crisis.

     

    But where Americans get their news—and who they trust—varies. And the sources they trust for information on the coronavirus has a substantial impact on how they feel the pandemic is being covered, how the U.S. is responding, and their own personal outlook.

     

    Overall, 40% of Americans consider at least one of the broadcast networks —ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox (not FOX News), PBS, Univision, and Telemundo— to be one of the top three trustworthy sources of information about the novel coronavirus. Three in 10 (30%) consider a center-to-left cable news network (CNN, MSNBC, and BBC) one of the top three trustworthy sources; 21% of Americans feel FOX News is one of the top three trustworthy media channels.

     

    Attitudes Towards Government Preparedness and Response
    Differs Dramatically Depending on Who Americans Trust for News

     

    Across all Americans, 44% have a positive perception of how the federal government has handled the coronavirus situation so far; 38% feel positively about the federal government’s preparedness. When it comes to their local/state government, 59%% of Americans feel positively about how they have handled the situation, and 45% feel positive about their preparedness.

     

    Among those who trust FOX News, 71% have a positive perception of how the federal government has handled the coronavirus situation so far and 62% feel positively about the federal government’s preparedness. In comparison, among those who trust other TV news sources, just 39% feel positively about the federal government’s handling and 31% feel positively about the federal government’s preparedness.

     

    Despite the drastic divide in attitudes towards federal response, both those who trust FOX News and those who trust other TV news sources are equally likely to feel positively about their local government’s response and preparedness.

     

    Additionally, those that trust FOX News are less likely to also say that one of the top three sources they trust for information about the coronavirus is the World Health Organization (16%, vs. 30% among those who trust other TV news sources).

     

    Attitudes Towards the News Media Differs
    Depending on Who Americans Trust for News

     

    Across all Americans, 46% have a positive perception of how the news media is handling coverage of the coronavirus —but three in 10 (29%) feel the news media is handling coverage poorly.

     

    Those who consider FOX News one of the most trustworthy news sources on coronavirus are more than twice as likely than others to feel negatively about how the news media is handling coverage (38% of those who trust FOX News feel negatively, vs. just 16% of those who trust other TV news sources).

     

    Notably, those who trust non-FOX News TV news sources are more likely than those who trust FOX News to believe that independent journalism is important to ensure that the American public stays informed.

     

    Personal Outlook, Awareness of Racism Varies Depending on
    Who Americans Trust for News

     

    Americans who trust FOX News tend to feel more hopeful and optimistic than those who trust other TV news sources.

     

    64% of those who trust FOX News say they personally feel prepared, compared to 57% of those who trust other TV news sources. They are also more likely to report feeling energetic and relaxed.

     

    On the other hand, those who trust other TV news sources (not FOX News) are much more likely to report feeling anxious about the unpredictability of the future, frustrated, stressed, and scared.

     

    Almost half (48%) of those who trust other TV news sources (not FOX News) believe the coronavirus crisis is having or will have an impact on discrimination against Asian Americans, compared to only 29% of those who trust FOX News who believe that.

     

    “There are clear differences in perceptions of how the coronavirus crisis is unfolding between Americans who trust FOX News and those who trust other sources,” noted Adriana Waterston, SVP of Insights and Strategy for Horowitz Research. “The data underscores how different FOX News’ coverage of the crisis is to other reputable news sources covering the crisis. Hopefully, these differences in coverage will not translate to complacency about the seriousness of this situation among these viewers.
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