- The Washington Times - Monday, May 15, 2017

The prevalence of bias in the media appears to have affected the role of the “watchdog” press, long a traditional calling for many journalists. A new Pew Research Center poll finds that 42 percent of Republicans say that media criticism of political leaders “keeps them from doing things they shouldn’t.”

A hefty 89 percent of Democrats agree.

This 47-point gap is a record-setter for the pollster, which has been asking the public their opinion on the watchdog role of the press since 1985. The difference is described as “dramatic,” the researchers say.

“The gap stands in sharp contrast to January and February, 2016 — when Americans were asked the same question. Then, in the midst of the presidential primary season, nearly the same share of Democrats (74 percent) and Republicans (77 percent) supported the watchdog role,” the poll analyses said.

There are more difference of opinion here.

• 87 percent of Republicans say news organizations “tend to favor” one side of politics; 53 percent of Democrats agree.

• 18 percent of Republicans says the national news media “do very well at keeping them informed”; 33 percent of Democrats agree.

• 13 percent of Republicans say news organizations are fair to both political parties; 46 percent of Democrats agree.

• 11 percent of Republicans say they trust information from news organizations “a lot”; 34 percent of Democrats agree.

The Pew Research Center American Trends Panel poll of 4,151 U.S. adults was conducted March 13-27 and released Friday; the sample included 1,080 Republicans and 1,472 Democrats.

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