With so much going on in the world, the news anchors who deliver the latest updates have become practically celebrities themselves. But who do the people of the United States trust? Morning Consult asked viewers who they trust “a lot” or “not at all” and came up with a list of the most and least trusted people in news. How many people feel the same way about your favorite host that you do?
20. Least Trusted: Sean Hannity – 30%
Fox News is consistently not only America’s most watched cable news channel, it is the most watched network in all of U.S. cable, both in daytime and prime time viewers. And within Fox News’ lineup, Sean Hannity’s prime time show Hannity reigns supreme, usually holding on tightly to the number-one spot in terms of ratings.
But beyond being one of the most popular news anchors, he is also one of the most polarizing. People either love him or hate him for his bombastic takes on the news each day. In this Morning Consult poll, 30 percent of respondents said that they trust Hannity “not at all” when it comes to delivering the news.
19. Least Trusted: Rachel Maddow – 26%
In more liberal political news circles, there is only one queen, and her name is Rachel Maddow. Her prime time show on MSNBC, titled The Rachel Maddow Show, consistently receives the highest ratings on the network, although it struggles to receive the same viewership as its Fox News competition.
Maddow is not known to be one to keep her opinions to herself. But as popular as Maddow is among those who share her views, she has just as many people who disagree with her. And because of her more polarizing brand, 26 percent of people who responded to the Morning Consult poll said that they do not trust Maddow at all.
18. Least Trusted: Don Lemon – 25%
Don Lemon has been at CNN since 2006, but it was not until the 2016 election cycle that his star began to seriously rise in the news industry. Now, Lemon is the host of CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, and is one of the only black cable news anchors in prime time television.
But just as Lemon has become a household name among the people who love him, he has also gained some attention from those who think he has been too harsh in his takes. Maybe that is why 25 percent of people who responded to this poll said that they do not trust Lemon to deliver their news.
17. Least Trusted: Mika Brzezinski – 23%
News anchor Mika Brzezinski definitely does not hold back. Every morning, she lays out all of her thoughts about the day’s politics on the table. And we mean that literally. On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Brzezinski is flanked by her co-host and husband Joe Scarborough as she lays her notes on the table (next to her giant coffee) and goes no-holds-barred on some of the most powerful politicians.
She is blatantly not afraid of the haters, even when there seems to be a lot of them. While Morning Joe receives some of the highest ratings on TV, especially in morning news, others chose to tune out. That includes, we assume, the 23 percent of poll respondents who say they do not trust her at all.
16. Least Trusted: Chris Matthews – 22%
Let’s play hardball! Chris Matthews has been the face of Hardball with Chris Matthews since the show began its run on MSNBC in 1999. And before that, Matthews had a similar show called America’s Talking on CNBC. So let’s just say that over the years, Matthews has become a television news staple.
But to continue his hardball puns, this admittedly grumpy news anchor was a hit or a miss among viewers. And after a long run on MSNBC, Matthews announced in 2020 that he would be leaving the network after a series of allegations of misconduct, as well as an incident that led to an on-air apology.
15. Least Trusted: Joe Scarborough – 22%
If the coffee is not strong enough to wake someone up in the morning, hearing Joe Scarborough brewing on his opinions about the latest political news certainly will. This host of MSNBC’s morning program Morning Joe, which he leads alongside his wife Mika Brzezinski, is one of the more conservative figures on MSNBC’s lineup.
Scarborough is used to some friendly competition. He won four elections and served in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican before pivoting to a career in media. Now, he has some of the most powerful voices in politics at his television studio table each morning, and sometimes it creates some powerful backlash.
14. Least Trusted: Tucker Carlson – 21%
Among television news viewers who said they defined themselves as Republicans, Tucker Carlson held the top spot as their favorite news anchor on TV. But when asking all respondents, Carlson did not receive as much praise. In fact, 21 percent of people said that they do not trust Carlson at all.
Despite that low score, Carlson is enjoying some of the highest ratings on all of Fox News Channel. In the second quarter of 2020, 4.331 million viewers tuned in to see Carlson take on some of the most powerful politicians in the world. And here’s a fun fact: Carlson was actually featured as a host on rival network MSNBC before moving on to Fox News.
13. Least Trusted: Chris Cuomo – 20%
Chris Cuomo has been a news anchor who is constantly trying to find his niche. As the New York Times put it, “his mad-as-hell attacks on government failures lacked the explanatory clarity offered by [Rachel] Maddow” and “his celebrity quality — taut T-shirts…bulging biceps…workout videos on Instagram — didn’t connect to the political moment.”
Throughout his career, he has often become part of the news himself, whether through a viral video of him getting in verbal arguments, or the backlash against his interviews with his brother, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. After all of that, 20 percent of respondents said that they don’t trust Cuomo “at all”.
12. Least Trusted: Laura Ingraham – 20%
There’s never any questioning what exactly is on Laura Ingraham’s mind, probably because she just comes right out and says it. And oftentimes that reputation has gotten her into trouble. But other times, her comments have only added to her massive fan base, launching her to the level of political celebrity that speaks at Republican National Conventions.
Ingraham’s prime time Fox News Channel show, called The Ingraham Angle, is often lighter on news updates and heavier on commentary. And because of that, Fox News fans have rated her one of their favorite news anchors, though overall 20 percent of people in this poll say they don’t trust Ingraham as a news commentator.
11. Least Trusted: Anderson Cooper – 19%
With his bright white hair and black thick-framed glasses, there’s no mistaking when CNN host Anderson Cooper pops up on the screen. But for the 19 percent of people who told Morning Consult that they do not trust Cooper at all, we’re going to bet that this sight makes them change the channel.
Cooper has been the host of Anderson Cooper 360° since 2003. And since then, Cooper has carved out a serious place for himself at the news network. Over the years, Cooper has hosted NewsNight, 60 Minutes, CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute, and his syndicated talk show Anderson Live. He’s also hosted a ton of presidential debates, town halls, and New Year’s Eve celebrations.
10. Most Trusted: Craig Melvin – 21%
Now that we’ve gotten through the least trusted names in news, now it’s time to run through the names of the most trusted television news anchors in the business. And that starts with MSNBC’s Craig Melvin, known to be one of the more jolly anchors in television news, both on and off the screen.
And it seems that the top brass at MSNBC has taken notice of his massive fan base. After Melvin joined as a weekend anchor in 2011 with little viewership, he quickly rose up the ranks as an NBC News correspondent and, later, as an anchor in the network’s weekday line up. And by 2018, he was so loved that MSNBC gave him a coveted spot as an anchor of The Today Show.
9. Most Trusted: Chris Wallace – 22%
In the world of conservative news anchors and commentators, most of the biggest names tend to be pretty polarizing. But there has been one Fox News host who has avoided all of that, and has remained a trusted news anchor within both liberal and conservative circles. And that man is Chris Wallace.
Wallace has held basically all of the coveted spots that any aspiring news anchor could ever want. Not only does he hold his impressive spot as the host of Fox News Channel’s Sunday show, Fox News Sunday, but he’s also worked as an anchor for NBC Nightly News, Meet the Press, and Nightline. Now that is a solid — and, apparently, trustworthy — résumé.
8. Most Trusted: George Stephanopoulos – 23%
George Stephanopoulos was not always supposed to be a journalist. In his early career, Stephanopoulos worked as the communications director for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign, and went on to work as President Clinton’s communications director in the White House. But at age 35, he decided he needed a change.
And it turns out that it was a welcomed change, as Stephanopoulos deftly pivoted to a career in political television. Now, he is one of the most trusted names in news, according to Morning Consult, with 23 percent of respondents saying they trust him “a lot”. No wonder he has also been awarded the prestigious spot as the lead anchor for ABC’s Sunday news show, ABC‘s This Week.
7. Most Trusted: Andrea Mitchell – 23%
NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell is truly the real deal. She’s known for not only keeping her composure on television, but delivering some of the biggest scoops and most well-analyzed takes on the news of the day. During her long career covering the State Department, it is the small but mighty Mitchell who is known for standing up and asking the toughest questions.
And on the presidential campaign trail, Mitchell is known for being almost ninja-like in her way of being able to squeeze through scrums of reporters and somehow pop up in the middle of the action. And all that hard work has paid off, as she’s now one of the most trusted news anchors on television.
6. Most Trusted: Brian Williams – 24%
Brian Williams has, no pun intended, had a storied career. But while his ability to deliver updates and developments about even the most chaotic and devastating news items with a level head has helped launch him into stardom, it was also his storytelling that landed him in trouble.
In 2015, after 10 years anchoring NBC Nightly News, Williams was removed after it was found that he had fabricated a story about his experiences during the Iraq War. But since, Williams has returned to television as the host of MSNBC’s The 11th Hour with Brian Williams and seen huge success, despite its late time slot. And despite that scandal, he’s still one of news’ most trusted anchors.
5. Most Trusted: Harris Faulkner – 24%
Harris Faulkner started her career at Fox News Channel’s Outnumbered, sitting alongside three other women and a “#OneLuckyGuy” talking about the politics of the day. It could be argued that this was Fox News’ version of The View. But in this new world that Fox created, Faulkner managed to stand out above the rest.
She separated herself from the arguments and delivered level-headed, heartfelt news commentary. And out of all the women who have been cast on Outnumbered, only Faulkner made the list of the most trusted news anchors, with 24 percent of people polled saying that they trust her “a lot”.
4. Most Trusted: Robin Roberts – 28%
ABC’s Good Morning America has consistently been rated the most popular morning show in all of broadcast television. And in the Good Morning America world, Robin Roberts is the most trusted figure. The Morning Consult poll found that a generous 28 percent of respondents said that they trust Roberts “a lot”. But that’s not even the most impressive part.
Morning Consult reported that if the survey was taken with only the answers from what is known as the “key demographic” in television, meaning 25-49 year old viewers, Roberts would have placed first on this list. Fifty-three percent of people age 25-49 say they trust Roberts above every other news anchor on television.
3. Most Trusted: David Muir – 28%
ABC sees about 12 million viewers tuning in to their evening news programs. And among that lineup, David Muir takes the lead. As the host of World News Tonight with David Muir, Muir has become a household name due to the massive popularity of the show.
“I think that in this era, where people are really hungry for someone that they can trust and a team they can trust, that it’s just something they sense in their guy,” Muir told Time Magazine about public perception. And it seems that when it comes to the guts of the public, 28 percent told Morning Consult that they can trust Muir.
2. Most Trusted: Anderson Cooper – 29%
Yes, that’s right. Not only was Anderson Cooper given a spot as one of the least trusted names in news, he was also given enough votes of confidence to make him the second most trusted name in news, as well. As if anyone needed any more evidence that today’s news climate is a bit hot and cold.
While 19 percent said that they do not trust Cooper “at all”, many more — 29 percent — said that they trust Cooper “a lot” as a news anchor. Because of that, Morning Consult declared Cooper to be TV’s most polarizing figure in news. 46 percent of Democrats say they trust Cooper, while 32 percent of Republicans do not.
1. Most Trusted: Lester Holt – 32%
Lester Holt of NBC comes in as the most trusted name in all of television news, with 32 percent of respondents saying that they trust him “a lot”. Holt took over the role of lead anchor for NBC Nightly News after Brian Williams left the spot open, and since then, he has been steadily rising in the ranks as one of NBC’s biggest stars.
Holt’s style of delivering the news without opinion means that he stands out among the rest, as more and more anchors have begun to cross the line from news into commentary. “Trust is at the heart of what we do,” Holt told The Hollywood Reporter when he received news of his ranking. “To me, there is no higher honor than to have earned that trust.”
Just when you thought this list was over, the viewers have spoken, and there are some pretty interesting honorable mentions. So who else is the least or most trusted news anchor?!
Honorable Mention – Least Trusted: Chuck Todd (19%)
This might be some bad news for NBC. The network’s political director, Chuck Todd, was found by the Morning Consult to be one of the least trusted names in news, with 19 percent of respondents saying they do not trust him at all (to be fair, 19% also said that they trust him “a lot”).
Despite some negative ratings from viewers, Todd continues to be a staple of NBC’s news lineup. Not only is he in the coveted moderator seat for NBC’s Sunday show Meet The Press, he also hosts the spin-off MTP Daily and appears throughout the day on other shows as an on-air political analyst.
Honorable Mention – Least Trusted: Juan Williams (19%)
Journalist and Political Analyst Juan Williams writes for The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, but he is most known for his work on Fox News. Williams has made a name for himself at the channel for being one of the few registered Democrats to appear in their lineup.
Williams was even the go-to guy to guest host one of Fox News’ most popular shows at the time, The O’Reilly Factor. But while he provides welcome counterpoints to some of Fox News’ discussions, it seems that viewers do not trust Williams very much. Nineteen percent of respondents said that they do not trust Williams at all.
Honorable Mention – Least Trusted: Steve Doocy (18%)
Millions of Americans wake up to watch Steve Doocy and his Fox & Friends morning show every single day. But while the show might receive some high ratings, viewers are giving low ratings to this particular show host. And for years, Doocy has faced criticism for some of his more colorful views.
In the past, Doocy has been panned for some unsuccessful segments as he tries to wander the streets to do real-time reporting to no avail. In The Guardian one report slammed the show and its hosts, writing “Fox & Friends main hosts – Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt, and Brian Kilmeade – are a consistent train wreck of shameless hackery.” Wow, tell us how you really feel.
Honorable Mention – Least Trusted: Chris Hayes (18%)
Progressive commentator and news anchor Chris Hayes is the host of the MSNBC news and opinion show All In with Chris Hayes, a part of the network’s weekday line up. But it seems that when asked, news viewers are not exactly “all in” on Hayes. Instead, 18 percent said that they do not trust Hayes at all.
But it also seems like after 7 years of hosting a news television show, Hayes does not care about molding his show to please audiences. “It’s a business that revolves around audience attention and so the weirdly liberating thing is that I’m not thinking in those terms now,” Hayes told The New Yorker.
Honorable Mention – Least Trusted: Wolf Blitzer (17%)
We know it’s bad when famed media columnist Jack Shafer tweets “Could Wolf Blitzer be any duller?” followed by the headline “Wolf Blitzer of CNN, the dullest journalist in the world.” Ouch. But, to be fair, whether it is because of Blitzer’s monotone questioning or even-keeled interviews, Blitzer has faced criticism for being a news anchor that, well, doesn’t make much news.
Instead, Blitzer’s brand of anti-wave-making journalism has not necessarily earned him trust. In total, 17 percent of poll-takers said that they do not trust Blitzer at all. To give Blitzer some credit, 17 percent also said that they trust Blitzer “a lot.”
Honorable Mention – Most Trusted: Gayle King (22%)
Gayle King first began appearing on television screens as Oprah Winfrey’s best friend and most trusted confidant. And now that she has landed a spot on the wildly successful show CBS This Morning, it seems that she has also become one of America’s most trusted voices, as well. Twenty-two percent of respondents said that they trust King “a lot.”
And if King even had to prove herself after 40 years of local news reporting, she did so on the national stage in a big way. King has landed some headline-grabbing interviews, including one with singer R. Kelly, and has shown that she can land a tough line of questioning.
Honorable Mention – Most Trusted: Dana Perino (21%)
Political fanatics were first introduced to Dana Perino as she stood at the presidential podium and delivered her daily briefing as former President George W. Bush’s White House press secretary. But nowadays, fans get to see her taking on a new role, hosting The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino on Fox News.
Perino has used her own experience of sitting in some of the most powerful rooms in Washington and has translated it to the small screen. Her takes on what matters in each news cycle seems to have an extra weight given the fact that she once was privy to all the ins and outs of the Oval Office.
Honorable Mention – Most Trusted: Ainsley Earhardt (20%)
Ainsley Earhardt said that she “did not know the first thing about politics” when she was first hired at Fox News in 2017. But years later, she has become one of the most trusted voices in political news, delivering the latest updates on one of Fox’s most highly rated shows, Fox & Friends.
“She comes right through the television,” veteran anchor Deborah Knapp told Business Insider. “It’s a rare quality to connect with people like she does. And the way she appears is exactly who she is. Ainsley is just full of goodness. I think people pick up on that, and people are attracted to that.”
Honorable Mention – Most Trusted: Jake Tapper (19%)
In 2020, Vanity Fair published an article titled “How Will CNN’s Jake Tapper Be Remembered In 30 Years?” And if this Morning Consult poll is any indication, then he will be remembered as one of the most trusted voices in news media. And we would say that that’s a pretty good legacy to hold.
As the chief Washington correspondent for CNN and the host of The Lead With Jake Tapper, Tapper has been gaining the public’s trust for years. “Unlike colleagues willing to pull punches to stay in the good graces of their high-powered sources, Tapper’s strategy is to do his homework and be right,” Politico Magazine wrote on Tapper.
Honorable Mention – Most Trusted: John Dickerson (19%)
John Dickerson has a long and storied resume that includes hosting CBS News’ 60 Minutes, CBS This Morning, CBS Evening News, and previously CBS‘s Sunday morning show, Face The Nation. Oh, and he also happens to be the white house correspondent for Time. And there’s a good reason why CBS has continued to bring Dickerson in on new projects. The public trusts him.
And it seems like Dickerson was always destined to become one of the most recognizable news anchors in Washington. Dickerson grew up in the nation’s capital and attended Sidwell Friends School, a school with an alumnae list that includes Chelsea Clinton and Sasha and Malia Obama.
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