Trust Issues

In an interesting article from Business Insider, the results of a poll from Pew Research describing the most and least trusted news organizations in America are displayed.   According to this survey, the most trusted outlets are actually British- the BBC and the Economist.   At the bottom of the list are BuzzFeed and the Rush Limbaugh Show.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

As a consumer of everydata, what does one make of this type of result?  There is nothing on its surface that raises a red flag about these results per se, but here are some questions you might ask yourself when confronted with this type of information:

First, the notion of “trust” is a pretty subjective metric.  So, given trust is the predicate of the survey, I am pretty interested in how the questions on “trust” were asked, and how much room for interpretation there is amongst survey respondents.

Second, I always wonder about who were the people that were surveyed.  There is a fair amount of technical documentation from the Pew Research Service actually available, and that’s a good thing for both understanding the limitations of the research and the sampling.   For example, this was a purportedly random sample, but there was 11% of respondents who were not Internet users who were ultimately excluded from the survey.  Pew explains the reasons here, but that would be something to explore.

Finally, one of the major thrusts of the article is the survey on political views.  For, one of the biggest conclusions is that Conservatives trust certain media outlets more and Liberals trust other media outlets more.   It appears people were grouped into five different buckets based on a 10-question survey about political views.   I did some digging, and again, Pew does an excellent job of putting up documentation.  For those of you interested, here are the questions that formed the basis for the political groupings: