Report

News Interest Index: Fox News Viewed as Most Ideological Network

  • October 29, 2009

The Fox News Channel is viewed by Americans in more ideological terms than other television news networks. And while the public is evenly divided in its view of hosts of cable news programs having strong political opinions, more Fox News viewers see this as a good thing than as a bad thing.

Nearly half of Americans (47%) say they think of Fox News as “mostly conservative,” 14% say it is “mostly liberal,” and 24% say it is “neither in particular.” Opinion about the ideological orientation of other TV news outlets is more mixed: while many view CNN and the three broadcast networks as mostly liberal, about the same percentages say they are neither in particular. However, somewhat more say MSNBC is mostly liberal than say it is neither in particular, by 36% to 27%.

The perceptions of those who regularly tune into these news networks are similar to those of the public. Nearly half (48%) of regular Fox viewers say the network is mostly conservative. About four-in-ten (41%) regular viewers of CNN describe the network as mostly liberal and 36% of regular MSNBC viewers say the same about that network.

The latest weekly News Interest Index survey, conducted October 23-26 among 1,001 adults by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, also shows that Americans followed news about the spread of the swine flu and the availability of a vaccine more closely than any other major news story last week. And the percentage of Americans saying they followed swine flu news very closely (43%) now matches the highest levels of interest reached during the previous flu outbreak in May.

Read the full report Fox News Viewed as Most Ideological Network on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press' Web site.