Just 17% of voters nationwide believe that most reporters try to offer unbiased coverage of election campaigns. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that four times as many—68%—believe most reporters try to help the candidate that they want to win.
The perception that reporters are advocates rather than observers is held by 82% of Republicans, 56% of Democrats, and 69% of voters not affiliated with either major party. The skepticism about reporters cuts across income, racial, gender, and age barriers.
With Chris Matthews having little thrills run up his leg, one doesn't have to go far to find examples of advocacy.
Ideologically, political liberals give the least pessimistic assessment of reporters, but even 50% of those on the political left see bias. Thirty-three percent (33%) of liberals believe most reporters try to be objective. Moderates, by a 65% to 17% margin, see reporters as advocates, not scribes. Among political conservatives, only 7% see reporters as objective while 83% believe they are biased.
Some may argue that most people let their prejudices get in the way of objectively assessing how the media actually performs. And I'd agree that has some validity. But the problem for the media, just as for politicians, is perception is reality. If the purpose of journalism is to convey the news in an objective manner, and the audience to which it is aimed is convinced that isn't happening, who has the problem?
And how do the people see the media lining up for the upcoming general election?
Voters have little doubt as to who is benefitting from the media coverage this year—Barack Obama. Fifty-four percent (54%) say Obama has gotten the best coverage so far. Twenty-two percent (22%) say McCain has received the most favorable coverage while 14% say that Hillary got the best treatment.
At the other extreme, 43% say Clinton received the worst treatment from the media. Twenty-seven percent (27%) say the media was roughest on McCain and only 15% thought the media coverage was most unfair to Obama.
Looking ahead to the fall campaign, 44% believe most reporters will try to help Obama while only 13% believe that most will try to help McCain. Twenty-four percent (24%) are optimistic enough to believe that most reporters will try to offer unbiased coverage.
Even Democrats tend to believe their candidate will receive better treatment—27% of those in Obama’s party believe most reporters will try to help him win while only 16% believe they will help McCain. A plurality of Democrats—34%—believe most reporters will be unbiased.
Among unaffiliated voters, 44% believe reporters will try to help Obama and 14% believe they will try to help McCain. Seventy percent (70%) of Republicans expect Obama to receive preferential treatment while only 8% believe reporters will try to help McCain.
Those overwhelming perceptions have to come from somewhere, and when you see agreement across the ideological lines that the media seems most prepared to help Barack Obama through their treatment of him during the upcoming election, you have to figure there's a little fire with that smoke.
Yes, most people know the media is full of it, unfortunately most people aren’t political/news junkies like those of us who read blogs. So the media’s blatant Leftward tilt still pays off for the Mediacrats. That wouldn’t be the case if the Republicans had one percent of the organization and ruthlessness that the Mediacrats have. How hard would it be for the Republicans to run a campaign based on the fact that the Left has intentionally crippled our energy supply for the last few decades?