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Poynter: Local TV News is Most Trusted

Localism is a key factor in American's trust of the news media, and local TV leads the way.

That is according to 2018 Poynter Media Trust Survey and comes as the President launches almost daily attacks on the press as enemies of the people and conspirators with his opponents, and as the threat of "real" fake news from foreign actors has Washington forces on edge and critically eyeing edge providers.

A large majority (76%) of Americans have either a "great deal" or "fair amount" of trust in local TV news, followed closely by local newspapers, the study found. But only 59% say that about national newspapers, 55% for network news and 47% for online news.

The study found that, generally, only 12% trust the press a great deal while 44% say they have a fair amount of trust.

Only a third of the respondents (32%) said the media deal fairly with both sides.

That's the bad news. But there was good news as well.

The good news is that those levels of trust and confidence are actually higher than a 2017 survey. In 2016, for example, only 32% said they had either a great deal of fair amount of trust in the media. For the current survey, that total is 54%.

In addition, a strong majority (66%) says news organizations “keep political leaders from doing things that shouldn’t be done."

The survey found that more than 25% of Americans say the government should have the right to revoke the broadcast licenses of news outlets that fabricate stories. The FCC already has that power over deception from broadcast licensees who are licensed to operate in the public interest. But the issue became a political flashpoint with President Donald Trump suggested licenses should be revoked over stories he believed were made up, a category that appears to also include stories critical of him and/or using unnamed Administration sources.

FCC chair Ajit Pai has pledged to Congress there would be no politically-driven license revocations.

According to Poynter, the study was conducted "among a representative sample of the U.S. population by the survey company YouGov, which recruits a large panel of opt-in respondents and then uses a weighting and matching algorithm to construct a final sample that mirrors the demographic composition of the U.S. population."

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.