Majority, in All Political Camps, Cite News Bias; Survey Also Finds Leanings Affect What Outlets Used

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 2, 2010 | Go to article overview

Majority, in All Political Camps, Cite News Bias; Survey Also Finds Leanings Affect What Outlets Used


Byline: Jennifer Harper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The old problem of media bias persists despite the fact that America is a nation of eager news junkies who get their information fix from an array of platforms, according to a wide-ranging survey and analysis released Monday by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism.

It's not just disgruntled Republicans who cite journalistic bias.

The report revealed that, yes, 81 percent of Republicans say that most news sources are biased in their coverage. But almost two-thirds of Democrats - 64 percent - also say that the news is biased, along with 76 percent of independents.

There was not much sympathy for news organizations. The survey also found that just 15 percent of Republicans, 19 percent of independents and 30 percent of Democrats said there was no bias in the press.

Analysts and cultural observers from conservative and liberal persuasions have debated the presence of bias for almost a quarter of a century, arguably prompted by the 1986 book The Media Elite by S. Robert Lichter, which surveyed 238 journalists to reveal that the majority described themselves as left of center, with 17 percent saying they were conservative. Eighty-six percent said they seldom or never went to church.

The public has been aware of this trend for some time as well. Surveys released in recent years by Pew, the Media Research Center and Zogby International have found that on average, about two-thirds of the public say journalists continue to lean left.

Still, all three political persuasions gave the press a little love when it came to its often herculean efforts, the new Pew report said.

Sixty-one percent of Republicans said, Major news organizations do a good job covering all the important news subjects that matter to me.

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