- The Washington Times - Monday, July 10, 2017

A wide ranging new survey from the Pew Research Center finds that two-thirds of Americans now say the news media has had a “negative impact on the U.S.” — rating the press at the bottom of a list of national institutions which includes churches, colleges and labor unions.

The national survey found that 63 percent of the respondents gave a thumbs-down on the media and its influence on “the way things are going” in the nation. It also revealed a stark and unprecedented difference in opinion when politics is added to the mix.

“Partisan differences in views of the national news media, already wide, have grown even wider,” the poll analysis said. “Democrats’ views of the effect of the national news media have grown more positive over the past year, while Republicans remain overwhelmingly negative.

“About as many Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents think the news media has a positive (44 percent) as negative (46 percent) impact on the way things are going in the country,” the research noted. “The share of Democrats holding a positive view of the news media’s impact has increased 11 percentage points since last August (33 percent).

“Republicans, by about eight-to-one (85 percent to 10 percent), say the news media has a negative effect. These views have changed little in the past few years,” the poll said.

Churches rate at the top of the list, followed by colleges and universities, labor unions, banks and financial institutions.

The academic world does have its challenges, however.

“A majority of the public (55 percent) continues to say that colleges and universities have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country these days, Republicans express increasingly negative views,” the research said. “A majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (58 percent) now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country, up from 45 percent last year.

“By contrast, most Democrats and Democratic leaners (72 percent) say colleges and universities have a positive effect, which is little changed from recent years,” the center wrote.

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