- Democrats and Republicans continue to remain divided over attitudes toward the role of the news media, according to a new Pew Research Center survey released on Tuesday.
- The areas where Democrats and Republicans disagree the most are on the media’s watchdog role and fairness in political coverage.
- Americans continue to feel distrustful and disconnected from news media organisations.
Democrats and Republicans continue to remain divided over the role of the news media, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis released on Tuesday.
The survey was based on data from over 5,000 American adults collected between February 22 and March 4.
The areas where Democrats and Republicans disagreed the most were on the media’s watchdog role and fairness in its political coverage.
While 82% of Democrats support the media’s position of keeping political leaders in check, only 38% of Republicans agreed, and a majority of conservatives said the media’s watchdog role prevents politicians from doing their jobs.
This difference is the largest ever measured in the more than three decades Pew has asked the question.
These views began to widen directly following the 2016 presidential election, amid President Donald Trump’s tense relationship with the media, which he has called the “enemy of the people.”
Both Democrats and Republicans were equally likely to support the media’s watchdog role in 2016 when former President Barack Obama was still in office.
In terms of political fairness, 68% of Americans believe that the media favours one side when covering political and social issues. But far more Republicans (86%) find the media is biased than Democrats (52%).
Both political parties agree that social media is an untrustworthy source of news and information, as only 4% of survey participants considered it trustworthy. But only 21% of respondents said they have a high level of trust in the information they learn from national news outlets.
Interestingly, 71% of respondents said they are confident in the accuracy of information that news organisations present. But 68% of Americans said they think news outlets try to cover up their mistakes.
Most survey participants said they feel disconnected from the media – 58% believe news organisations don’t understand the people they serve, and 56% said they feel disconnected from their main source of news.
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