With the rise of “fake news,” many news sources, even very legitimate sources, are finding themselves under fire and fighting for validity if they present a view that differs from their audience. One thing is for sure, this alternative news means different things to different people.
We looked at which news sources Democrats, Republicans, and Independents find most legitimate. While it is no surprise that Democrats and Republicans have different preferred sources for news, the complete polarization of opinion is startling.
Who Do You Believe?
In the news business, Credibility is the opposite of fake. Using E-Score Brand, we looked at sentiments towards dozens of broadcast, cable, and online news sources and uncovered which news brands are most Credible among members of the three political parties.
Credibility rankings for Democrats and Republicans are vastly different. Democrats view sources like CNN and MSNBC among the most Credible. Both make their top four, whereas Fox News tops the list for Republicans. Conversely, Democrats give very little credibility to Fox News and Republicans give even less to MSNBC and CNN, ranking last, or near the bottom for Credible among these groups.
In a world of partisan news, it is refreshing to see a bipartisan news source. Topping the list among Democrats, and number three among Republicans, PBS News is the most Credible news source across party lines.
While PBS News transcends party lines, other news sources create disparities between parties. The aforementioned Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN fall into this category. However, the most polarizing news source is Breitbart News Networks. It is a hotbed of contention as Democrats give the source no credibility, and an astounding 85% Dislike a Lot score. By comparison, Republicans see Breitbart as one of their most Credible sources. The Huffington Post fulfills a similar role in reverse. Democrats hold it as fairly Credible, though not one of their top sources, while Republicans give it little credibility.
The contentiousness and perceived absurdity of Breitbart and other media outlets, both Democrat and Republican supported, led to claims that less educated people are more susceptible to believing alternative news. However, E-Score Brand data saw no significant difference in the Credible scores of news sources when analyzed between college graduates and non-graduates within each political party.
Who is Most Informative?
Credible information does not always equal useful information. Being Informative is another vital tool in fighting fake news. Understanding this, we wanted to see the effect on each political party’s constituency, in regards to their faith in the ability of news networks to be Informative.
The alternative news discussion appears to be affecting Democrats less than Republicans. Democrats seem to have greater conviction about news networks abilities to be Informative. In fact, among Democrats, nearly three quarters of news networks surveyed score above 50% for Informative. Conversely, Republicans are skeptical of most news sources ability to be Informative, scoring only Fox News above 50% for the attribute.
To further illustrate the disdain these two groups have for opposing news sources, we looked at how they stack up against Buzzfeed. Though not considered a particularly Informative news source by any party, Buzzfeed was at the center of the fake news controversy. By comparison, Democrats and Republicans rank the oppositions major news sources as less Informative than Buzzfeed (Democrats: Buzzfeed-34%, Fox News-24%; Republicans: Buzzfeed-25%, MSNBC-24%.)
While Democrats and Republicans debate about which sources are Informative or not, Independents are showing that information is truly bipartisan for them, as both NBC News and Fox News tie for the most Informative sources.
Search vs. Social
The controversies between political parties and between news networks over the validity of information has involved search engines and social media networks as well. Search and social have been battling for supremacy of information distribution for years. With the objective to distribute information to a greater “share of eyeballs,” search companies have started social networks, and social networks have built out more robust search platforms. However, when it comes to the overall integrity and validity of information, search is the clear winner.
Search engines are still the go to source for Credible and Informative information among Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. For search and social, Google is the most Appealing information source among all three parties. However, Facebook is right behind at number two. Although social search is still gaining traction, the information gathered is a mixed bag. While it is relatively Informative, Facebook scores higher than Yahoo! for this attribute, political party members do not see the information as Reliable. No social network scores over 11% among any party.
The term fake news is subjective to the audience. While the controversy over alternative news initiated in the political arena, political party affiliation is only one way to analyze it. With the proliferation of news sites today it is important to understand which sites are most trustworthy. E-Score Brand helps you understand the feelings of unique demographics about the integrity of information sources, and brands in general.
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We used E-Score Brand data filtered by people ages 18+ who identify their political affiliation.
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