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America’s Most Trusted News Anchors 2024: National Poll Results

America’s Most Trusted News Anchors 2024: National Poll Results

“The gatekeepers are gone,” Colin Jost told a roomful of journalists at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on April 27, before pivoting to the punchline: “Did you know that 90 percent of people now get their news exclusively from social media? And that must be true because I saw it in a random guy’s TikTok.”

For those (ever fewer) media gatekeepers who have major reach, trust is currency. And there’s still a halo effect for those TV stars with broadest viewership — i.e. network TV hosts — particularly evening and morning show anchors for NBC and ABC, a new THR/Morning Consult poll shows. The survey, conducted May 4-5 among a sample of 2,239 U.S. adults, asked opinions about 40-plus major TV news stars, as well as surveyed trends about America’s fractured media diet during a presidential campaign year.

Among those several dozen high-profile names, Lester Holt, who has held the NBC Nightly News chair for nine years, has the highest share of respondents, 65 percent, saying they placed “a lot” or “some” trust in the anchor, leading the poll.

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images; Mike Coppola/Getty Images; Cindy Ord/Getty Images

Holt’s reputation may precede him, as the last time THR partnered with decision intelligence firm Morning Consult on this media trust survey, in 2018 during the height of the Donald Trump presidency, the Nightly News anchor also claimed the most trusted distinction. And this time he improved his stature by a couple of percentage points, too.

Elsewhere on the broadcast evening desk, ABC’s World News Tonight anchor David Muir (63 percent) is the runner-up while CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell sits at 53 percent on that “a lot” or “some” trust measure.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images; Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images; Cindy Ord/Getty Images; Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images; Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Among the morning show personalities included in the survey, ABC’s Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts (64 percent) and NBC’s Today staple Al Roker (64 percent) led the way. As a side note: 52 percent of respondents in the survey say it’s “very” or “somewhat” important that the outlet where they get their political news is also “entertaining,” which could be a bonus for both daytime talkers as well as late night shows.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images; Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images; Hannity: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

On cable news, CNN’s Who’s Talking to … host Chris Wallace and Anderson Cooper (also a broadcast staple on CBS’ 60 Minutes) both saw 60 percent of respondents say they have “a lot” or “some” trust in them. Cooper also saw an increase of several percentage points in overall trust since the 2018 survey was taken.

Given the highly polarized audiences of the Big 3 cable nets, it’s worth noting: 58 percent of respondents who identify as Joe Biden voters in 2020 say they “tend to consume news from a wide variety of sources,” which is about 6 percentage points higher than self-identified Donald Trump 2020 voters.

Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images; Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images; Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images; Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Leading the most divisive names in TV news is Tucker Carlson, the ousted Fox News anchor who now posts on X and his own site. He has the highest share of respondents, 49 percent, saying they trust the anchor “not much” or “not at all.” Also polarizing, by that measure: Fox News anchor Sean Hannity (45 percent), former Fox and NBC personality Megyn Kelly (40 percent), Fox News host Laura Ingraham (38 percent), former CNN host Don Lemon (35 percent) and MSNBC host Joy Reid (35 percent).

A few stats that speak to the echo chamber of 2024 political news: 40 percent of those surveyed “stopped watching a news program” because they “disagreed with a political view presented.” Of the 18-34 age group, that figure is higher, at 46 percent in the poll. 

And 20 percent of respondents say it’s “very important” when deciding where to get political news to choose an outlet that “presents views that are similar to mine.” Hence, Fox News and MSNBC typically lead the way in linear TV total audience ratings vs. CNN (although CNN will point out that it boasts higher monthly unique visitors online than its rivals).

Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images; Rob Kim/Getty Images; Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

If parsing the data looking strictly at who is the most trusted on each major cable network, these names arrive at the top: MSNBC’s most trusted name is veteran Ali Velshi (55 percent, four points higher than Rachel Maddow), anchor Harris Faulkner (53 percent) led for Fox News and the aforementioned Wallace (formerly of Fox) earned the distinction for his CNN interview show.

Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

How did Jon Stewart, now back in the chair at The Daily Show, compare with other late night hosts who also fit in the newsmaker mold? CBS’ Late Show host Stephen Colbert had the same “a lot / some” trust score (57 percent) but had a slightly higher negative score (29 percent), while NBC’s Late Night host Seth Meyers had a 49 percent trust score and 27 percent of respondents saying they had “not much” or “not at all” trust in him.

Is it a surprise that network news is perceived as more trustworthy than cable news? Maybe not given the Big 3 cable news networks are more associated with partisanship. It may be beside the point: About 39 percent of respondents say they get their political news from social media daily — it’s a higher percentage than all other traditional news types (network news, cable, radio, online sites, newspapers).

How Much Do You Trust…

What about the rest of the TV news names? Here’s a network-by-network, personality-by-personality look at the survey, ranked by the highest combined “a lot / some” score and, if there’s a tie, factoring in the “not much / not at all” score.

ABC News

1) Robin Roberts
A lot / some: 64%
Not much / Not at all: 23%
Don’t know / no opinion: 14%

2) David Muir
A lot / some: 63%
Not much / Not at all: 20%
Don’t know / no opinion: 17%

3) Michael Strahan
A lot / some: 62%
Not much / Not at all: 23%
Don’t know / no opinion: 16%

4) George Stephanopoulos
A lot / some: 57%
Not much / Not at all: 25%
Don’t know / no opinion: 18%

5) Lara Spencer
A lot / some: 53%
Not much / Not at all: 22%
Don’t know / no opinion: 25%

6) Jonathan Karl  
A lot / some: 48%
Not much / Not at all: 26%
Don’t know / no opinion: 27%

CBS News

1) Scott Pelley   
A lot / some: 53%
Not much / Not at all: 22%
Don’t know / no opinion: 25%

2) Norah O’Donnell
A lot / some: 53%
Not much / Not at all: 25%
Don’t know / no opinion: 21%

3) Gayle King   
A lot / some: 53%
Not much / Not at all: 26%
Don’t know / no opinion: 21%

4) John Dickerson   
A lot / some: 46%
Not much / Not at all: 22%
Don’t know / no opinion: 32%

5) Tony Dokoupil
A lot / some: 44%
Not much / Not at all: 26%
Don’t know / no opinion: 30%

6) Lana Zak
A lot / some: 38%
Not much / Not at all: 28%
Don’t know / no opinion: 35%

CNN

1) Chris Wallace
A lot / some: 60%
Not much / Not at all: 23%
Don’t know / no opinion: 17%

2) Anderson Cooper  
A lot / some: 60%
Not much / Not at all: 25%
Don’t know / no opinion: 16%

3) Erin Burnett  
A lot / some: 56%
Not much / Not at all: 20%
Don’t know / no opinion: 25%

4) Wolf Blitzer
A lot / some: 55%
Not much / Not at all: 27%
Don’t know / no opinion: 18%

5) Jake Tapper
A lot / some: 53%
Not much / Not at all: 29%
Don’t know / no opinion: 18%

6) Laura Coates
A lot / some: 50%
Not much / Not at all: 27%
Don’t know / no opinion: 23%

7) John King
A lot / some: 49%
Not much / Not at all: 23%
Don’t know / no opinion: 27%

8) Abby Phillip
A lot / some: 47%
Not much / Not at all: 24%
Don’t know / no opinion: 29%

9) Kaitlan Collins
A lot / some: 46%
Not much / Not at all: 24%
Don’t know / no opinion: 29%

10) Kate Bolduan
A lot / some: 44%
Not much / Not at all: 27%
Don’t know / no opinion: 29%

Fox News

1) Harris Faulkner
A lot / some: 53%
Not much / Not at all: 22%
Don’t know / no opinion: 25%

2) Greg Gutfeld
A lot / some: 51%
Not much / Not at all: 28%
Don’t know / no opinion: 20%

3) Dana Perino
A lot / some: 49%
Not much / Not at all: 22%
Don’t know / no opinion: 29%

4) Shannon Beam
A lot / some: 48%
Not much / Not at all: 23%
Don’t know / no opinion: 30%

5) Ainsley Earhardt
A lot / some: 47%
Not much / Not at all: 19%
Don’t know / no opinion: 33%

6) Bret Baier
A lot / some: 47%
Not much / Not at all: 30%
Don’t know / no opinion: 23%

See Also

7) Martha MacCallum
A lot / some: 46%
Not much / Not at all: 21%
Don’t know / no opinion: 33%

8) Brian Kilmeade
A lot / some: 46%
Not much / Not at all: 28%
Don’t know / no opinion: 26%

9) Steve Doocy
A lot / some: 45%
Not much / Not at all: 28%
Don’t know / no opinion: 27%

10) Jesse Watters
A lot / some: 45%
Not much / Not at all: 29%
Don’t know / no opinion: 25%

11) Laura Ingraham
A lot / some: 43%
Not much / Not at all: 38%
Don’t know / no opinion: 19%

12) Sean Hannity
A lot / some: 38%
Not much / Not at all: 45%
Don’t know / no opinion: 17%

MSNBC

1) Ali Velshi
A lot / some: 55%
Not much / Not at all: 22%
Don’t know / no opinion: 23%

2) Andrea Mitchell
A lot / some: 53%
Not much / Not at all: 27%
Don’t know / no opinion: 21%

3) Hallie Jackson
A lot / some: 51%
Not much / Not at all: 21%
Don’t know / no opinion: 29%

4) Katy Tur
A lot / some: 51%
Not much / Not at all: 23%
Don’t know / no opinion: 26%

5) Rachel Maddow
A lot / some: 51%
Not much / Not at all: 33%
Don’t know / no opinion: 17%

6) Chris Hayes
A lot / some: 49%
Not much / Not at all: 22%
Don’t know / no opinion: 30%

7) Stephanie Ruhle
A lot / some: 49%
Not much / Not at all: 23%
Don’t know / no opinion: 28%

8) Ari Melber
A lot / some: 48%
Not much / Not at all: 23%
Don’t know / no opinion: 28%

9) Mika Brzezinski
A lot / some: 47%
Not much / Not at all: 30%
Don’t know / no opinion: 23%

10) Lawrence O’Donnell
A lot / some: 46%
Not much / Not at all: 24%
Don’t know / no opinion: 29%

11) Joy Reid
A lot / some: 44%
Not much / Not at all: 35%
Don’t know / no opinion: 21%

12) Joe Scarborough
A lot / some: 43%
Not much / Not at all: 29%
Don’t know / no opinion: 29%

NBC News

1) Lester Holt  
A lot / some: 65%
Not much / Not at all: 16%
Don’t know / no opinion: 19%

2) Al Roker  
A lot / some: 64%
Not much / Not at all: 20%
Don’t know / no opinion: 16%

3) Savannah Guthrie
A lot / some: 59%
Not much / Not at all: 20%
Don’t know / no opinion: 21%

4) Hoda Kotb  
A lot / some: 54%
Not much / Not at all: 27%
Don’t know / no opinion: 19%

5) Kristen Welker  
A lot / some: 51%
Not much / Not at all: 22%
Don’t know / no opinion: 26%

6) Craig Melvin   
A lot / some: 47%
Not much / Not at all: 29%
Don’t know / no opinion: 32%

NewsNation

1) Elizabeth Vargas
A lot / some: 52%
Not much / Not at all: 22%
Don’t know / no opinion: 26%

2) Dan Abrams
A lot / some: 48%
Not much / Not at all: 24%
Don’t know / no opinion: 28%

3) Ashleigh Banfield
A lot / some: 45%
Not much / Not at all: 25%
Don’t know / no opinion: 31%

4) Chris Cuomo
A lot / some: 43%
Not much / Not at all: 39%
Don’t know / no opinion: 18%

And the full source document for topline and crosstab results…

This story first appeared in the May 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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