Polls PBS news most trusted by public

More Americans identify PBS as the most trusted source of news and public affairs on broadcast and cable TV, according to a new poll from GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media (opens in new tab) commissioned by PBS.

But trust in PBS among the public doesn’t stop with news and public affairs. The survey of 1006 American adults 18 or older conducted in December 2009 found that PBS also is the most trusted and unbiased institution among nationally known organizations, topping even courts of law, which ranked second, among 45 percent of respondents vs. 26 percent.

PBS ranked at the top in public trust among every age group, ethnicity, income and education level measured. This is the seventh consecutive year the public has named PBS the nation's most-trusted institution.

PBS also tops the list in terms of importance to the public as relates to television with 58 percent selecting it, followed by commercial broadcast with 43 percent and cable TV with 40 percent.

When it comes to news, the poll found the highest percentage of respondents chose PBS as the most trusted source of news and public affairs information with 40 percent expressing a “great deal” of confidence in its programs, followed by the FOX News Channel with 29 percent and CNN with 27percent.

Respondents also were asked how they would characterize news coverage: “liberal,” “mostly fair” or “conservative.” A total of 40 percent said PBS programs are mostly fair. NBC and ABC came in second, each with 33 percent selecting mostly fair; followed by CNN, with 31 percent; NPR, with 29 percent; FOX News Channel, with 25 percent; and MSNBC, with 24 percent saying coverage was mostly fair.