September 29, 2016

From January to February of this year, Pew asked 4,654 Americans about their views of the news. Specifically, researchers wanted to hear about the positive and negative traits they see the media.

The results? That depends on the political leanings of the respondents.

A third of conservatives Republicans ranked biased reporting as the worst offense, according to a new report by Pew’s Joel Ericsen and Jeffrey Gottfried. A quarter of liberal Democrats ranked poor choices about what’s reported as the most negative.

Screen shot, Pew Research Center

Screen shot, Pew Research Center

There were upsides to the report, too.

Forty-one percent of conservative Republicans said “reporting the news” was the media’s best attribute. Liberal Democrats rated public service as the media’s best trait, at 38 percent.

A study from earlier this week showed another difference among political parties and what they want from journalists. The poll, from Monmouth University, found that 60 percent of all respondents wanted debate moderators to fact-check presidential candidates. Nearly 70 percent of Clinton voters wanted moderators to fact-check compared with 46 percent of Trump voters.

One more highlight from Pew’s report, at least if you cover weather or traffic: According to the report, “weather and traffic tops the list of subject areas, named by 11 percent of U.S. adults.”

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Kristen Hare teaches local journalists the critical skills they need to serve and cover their communities as Poynter's local news faculty member. Before joining faculty…
Kristen Hare

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