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By Amy Mitchell Our recent report, Political Polarization and Media Habitsfinds that trust and distrust in the news media varies greatly by political ideology. Many readers asked us: Among the 36 news organizations we asked about, which one do Americans trust most? The answer is more complex than it may seem and can be measured in a number of different ways.
If you look simply at the total percentage of online adults who say they trust a news organization for news about government and politics, several mainstream television outlets rise to the top.
These high numbers, though, are intertwined with the fact that more than nine-in-ten respondents have heard of these five news sources.
Trust and distrust were only asked of sources respondents had heard of, thus, the better known a source is, the more Americans in total who can voice trust or distrust of that source. Or just not well known? An alternative way to analyze the data is to look at the percent of trust among those who have heard of the news organization.
This approach means that lesser-known outlets may be seen as equally trusted as better-known outlets. By this metric, several of the best-known sources sit toward the top, joined by some less familiar sources.
NPR, for example, is on par with many of the mainstream television outlets on this measure. Another way to think of trust is to compare trust and distrust in a news source.
In other words, what is the ratio of people who trust a news outlet to those who distrust it? This ratio is based just on those who have rated the sources as trusted or distrusted, regardless of how well known the source is.
The result is a different list of news brands: They may not be significant.
Any effort to draw distinctions between different news sources must keep in mind that survey data are subject to a margin of sampling error, and one should use appropriate caution. We will not characterize one source as more trusted than another if the differences between them are so small that they could have occurred just by chance as a result of sampling error.
Moreover, many small differences may pass a test of statistical significance but be substantively meaningless. Statistically, their ratios of trust over distrust are equivalent 1.NPR delivers breaking national and world news. Also top stories from business, politics, health, science, technology, music, arts and culture.
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Over the year, the industry has added , jobs. Employment in mining also continued to .