New poll: Fox News' reputation plummets

Looks like the Big Lie and Dominion took a whack out of the cable new giant — even amongst loyal viewers

By Tatyana Tandanpolie

Staff Writer

Published May 4, 2023 5:23PM (EDT)

Participants seen holding a banner outside Fox News HQ. (Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Participants seen holding a banner outside Fox News HQ. (Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Fox News' standing with viewers fell after Dominion Voting Systems' defamation lawsuit with the network, according to recently released polling

The conservative media corporation settled the suit for a record $787.5 million, but not until after Dominion produced evidence that suggested Fox promoted unsubstantiated claims about a stolen 2020 election that it knew were false to make money and placate viewers.

In the poll, conducted by YouGov and the Economist, Americans, 51% to 21%, said "that Fox hosts said things about the 2020 election that they knew to be untrue,"  The Washington Post reported.

The data also revealed a dip in reputation amongst the network's conservative fanbase: The Post reported that "nearly as many Republicans said Fox hosts effectively lied (31 percent) as dispute that assertion (34 percent)," adding that the split was similar amongst Trump supporters at 30-35.

Fox also ranked last for "accurate" coverage of the 2020 election in the poll, with only 12% of Americans saying that the network's 2020 coverage was "almost always accurate" and less than half saying it was "mostly accurate." These values were lower than that for CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC and CBS in both categories with percentages for those networks ranging between 56% and 58% for the "mostly accurate" poll.

In an article reacting to the poll on Thursday, "The Rachel Maddow Show" producer Steve Benen wrote that the "knew to be untrue" aspect of the data is especially significant.

"Every news organization and media professional has, at one time or another, gotten something wrong. That includes me," he said. "But in journalism, there's an enormous difference between making a mistake and peddling deliberate falsehoods."

"In situations like these," Benen added, "it's best not to rely too heavily on one poll, which makes it all the more important to emphasize that there's other data pointing in the same direction."

What these polls also reveal is that Republicans are split on Fox's standing following the settlement.

A YouGov poll from just after the settlement that asked if Fox knowingly broadcast false claims specifically about Dominion reflected the Republican split on the matter. Thirty-one percent of Republicans answered in the affirmative, compared to 39% who didn't, making the separation 46-27 against Fox, according to The Post.

A month before the settlement, another Quinnipiac University poll showed this difference of opinion. After being briefed on the details of the situation between Fox and Dominion, 41% of Republicans said that Fox should be held accountable, while 47% said it shouldn't. 

That poll also showed that Americans overall had taken a stance against Fox with 65% (compared to 26% in the negative) saying that Fox should be held accountable for its role in airing false claims about the election.

By Tatyana Tandanpolie

Tatyana Tandanpolie is a staff writer at Salon. Born and raised in central Ohio, she moved to New York City in 2018 to pursue degrees in Journalism and Africana Studies at New York University. She is currently based in her home state and has previously written for local Columbus publications, including Columbus Monthly, CityScene Magazine and The Columbus Dispatch.

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Brief Dominion Voting Systems Fox News News Polls Public Opinion Right-wing Media