We trust Laurie Oakes and George Negus to bring us the news. But not Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt.

And the news is worse for Bolt, the nation’s pre-eminent conservative crusader, with more than half of respondents to an Essential Research survey not knowing who he is.

Essential put a number of journalists and commentators to its weekly online panel to ask who they most trusted. The results perhaps aren’t surprising, and skewed with state-based stars, but show among the trustworthy and reviled that some of the nation’s hot-headed megaphones aren’t as famous as they might think.

Negus, the former 60 Minutes globetrotter turned host of Channel Ten’s struggling 6.30 bulletin, shared the most-trusted title with Nine’s veteran political reporter. Both scored 75% in the trust stakes, though Oakes polled slightly higher (33%) than Negus (27%) in the “a lot of trust” column.

Radio rabble-rouser and chief government critic Jones was the most disliked, with almost half saying they had little or no trust in the 2GB breakfast host. A third said they had no trust in him as a commentator whatsoever.

A trio of Victorian-based commentators had their figures dragged down by a lack of recognition. ABC Radio’s Jon Faine and 3AW morning rival Neil Mitchell both scored 40% in having “no trust” or “not much trust”, while The Age‘s political editor Michelle Grattan came in at 34%. Less than half of respondents to the survey could name the three, with Faine the least recognised at just 33%.

Bolt’s national TV profile — after quitting the ABC’s Insiders he now hosts a Sunday morning platform on Channel Ten — hasn’t done much to boost his fame: almost half (48%) said they didn’t know who he was.

Despite Tony Jones’ lower recognition factor, the ABC Q&A and Lateline host was third behind Oakes and Negus as the journalist or commentator most trusted. Grattan was fourth.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey