Pew Survey Rates Ideology of News Networks

Fox News Channel is seen as more ideological than other TV news networks, according to the latest Pew Research Center weekly News Interest Index.

According to its survey of 1,000 adults 18-plus, 47% say they think of Fox News as "mostly conservative," compared to 14% who say it is mostly liberal, and 24% who say it is not particularly one or the other.

CNN topped the "mostly liberal" list with 37% saying that was the case, compared to 27% saying it was neither and 11% responding that it was mostly conservative.

MSNBC was close behind, viewed by 36% of respondents as liberal vs. 27% who said it was neither and 11% who said it was mostly conservative, though given the 3.5% margin of error, only Fox's numbers exceed the margin in terms of ranking.

Among the broadcast networks, NBC was viewed as the most liberal with a 36% score vs. 36% neither and 11% mostly conservative, followed by ABC (32% liberal, 36% neither and 14% conservative, and CBS with 31% liberal, 37% neither and 14% conservative.)

Respondents were split on whether or not it was a good thing for the hosts of cable news shows to have strong political opinions (41% pro, 41% con), with that split holding up pretty much across regular viewers of all but Fox, where 51% said it was a good thing and 36% said it was a bad thing, though the margin of error could close most of that gap with other nets (CNN, for example was 46% pro, 42% con).

According to Pew: "Results for the weekly surveys are based on landline telephone interviews among a nationwide sample of approximately 1,000 adults, 18 years of age or older, conducted under the direction of ORC (Opinion Research Corporation).  For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.