A new survey has found that Americans trust Comedy Central’s satirical news program “The Daily Show” more than MSNBC.
The study, conducted by the Brookings Institute, examined which news sources Americans trust more for information about politics and current events.
While those surveyed overwhelmingly said they turned to Fox News as their primary news source, competitor MSNBC didn’t fare as well, as it was ranked the least-trusted news source with only 5 percent of those surveyed saying they trusted the network.
Of the survey’s findings, the most interesting component is how MSNBC stacked up against Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” More Americans — 8 percent — said they trusted the fake news program more than MSNBC.
The gap between those who trust “The Daily Show” over MSNBC widens when respondents are divided by political ideology. Of those who identified as “liberal” — the undisputed leaning of MSNBC — 17 percent said they trusted “The Daily Show” over MSNBC. Only among Democrats was MSNBC the preferred network, with 10 percent saying they turned to the channel for political coverage compared to 9 percent who favor “The Daily Show.”
And among Independents, 11 percent of respondents said they trusted “The Daily Show,” compared to a mere 4 percent who reported turning to MSNBC.
According to the survey, Fox News remains the most trusted news source, edging out broadcast news, CNN, public television, “The Daily Show” and, naturally, MSNBC.
Since Stewart took the reins as host of “The Daily Show” in 1999 and shifted the satirical news program’s focus away from pop culture to politics and the media, it has emerged as a valuable source for Americans, especially Millennials. A 2004 Pew poll found that 21 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds turned to either “The Daily Show” or NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” for information about that year’s presidential campaign. Just 23 percent said they got their news from ABC, NBC or CBS.
Additionally, a 2007 study from the University of Indiana at Bloomington found that “The Daily Show” provides just as much political substance as network news programs. The survey compared the content of traditional television news sources with that of the Comedy Central show and found “no significant difference” in their substance.
“We’ve been wringing our hands for decades that the networks aren’t doing enough substance in the political coverage, so is it any real surprise that [“The Daily Show”] is just as substantive?” Julia Fox, who led the study, said at the time. “Our findings should allay at least some concerns about the growing reliance on this nontraditional source of political information, as it is just as substantive as the source that Americans have relied upon for decades.”