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According to a new little poll[pdf] that’s getting a whole lot of attention, Fox News is the most trusted news network in the United States.

Almost half of the 1,151 American registered voters who were surveyed by Public Policy Polling said they trusted the network. Results were less positive for CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC.

“A generation ago you would have expected Americans to place their trust in the most neutral and unbiased conveyors of news,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “But the media landscape has really changed and now they’re turning more toward the outlets that tell them what they want to hear.”

Well, if that’s true, I should probably start tuning in to “The Weather Network: San Diego.”

So, what do these results tell us? I’d say it’s that we need to start rethinking our modern news network recipes for success.

To start, we need a lot more shouting, and a healthy dose of fear mongering. I don’t care if McCarthyism was 60 years ago; dropping a “Red” or “socialist” now and again is key to an attractive news report. Throw in some pundits, radicals, a little photo doctoring and a “Fair & Balanced” motto, and you’re laughing. Occasionally you might have to cover a natural disaster or something of the sort; it’s just part of the game. Don’t worry—you can almost always make it political.

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About the author

Robyn Urback was the Front of Book Editor for the Spring 2010 issue of the Ryerson Review of Journalism.

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