Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Grading the Media

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Grading the Media

Article excerpt

THE AMERICAN PUBLIC was underwhelmed, at best, by media coverage of the recent congressional and gubernatorial elections.

More than a third (34%) of the voting public nationally gave the media a grade of C for their coverage of the fall elections, according to a new survey from the Times Mirror Center for the People & the Press in Washington, D.C.

Only 7% of voters, who were surveyed as they left the polls, gave the media an A, 31% passed them with a B, 17% awarded a poor grade of D, and 8% failed the media outright with an F.

Massachusetts voters gave the best grades overall, with 43% grading media coverage there as good, with a B. In New York (38%), Texas (35%), Connecticut (38%) and Florida (35%), media grades of B were most prevalent. In Maryland, an equal number -- 37% -- gave the media a B or a C.

Although in no state surveyed did the media receive a failing grade from the majority, in Arizona (40%), New Jersey (36%), Virginia (31%), California (35%), Michigan (37%) and Pennsylvania (37%), most people graded coverage with a C.

Republican voters gave the media lower grades than did Democrats.

Thirty-six percent of Republicans rated coverage as a C, 26% gave it a B, 21% rated it as poor with a D, 10% failed the media with an F, and only 5% gave their coverage an A.

Most Democrats (37%) thought coverage warranted a B, although 31% gave it a C. Ten percent of Democrats thought coverage warranted an A, 13% rated it a D, and 6% graded it an F.

Conservatives were the most critical of the press coverage, with 13% giving it an F. Twenty-three percent gave it a D, 34% passed it with a C, 24% thought it merited a B, and only 6% awarded it an A.

Liberals were, well, more liberal in handing out good grades, as 10% awarded coverage an A, 37% thought it was worth a B, 32% a C, 14% a D, and only 5% an F. …

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