Pew: Record High 67% See Political Bias in News Media

The downward slide of media credibility continues. A Pew survey released a few days ago found 67 percent of Americans see “a great deal” or “fair amount” of “political bias” in the news media, a record high for the poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press which pegged the level at 63 percent just four months ago. Specifically:

Currently, 37 percent of Americans say there is a great deal of bias in news coverage and 30 percent say there is a fair amount of bias. Far fewer see not too much bias (21 percent) or none at all (10 percent). The percentage saying there is a great deal of bias has increased six points, from 31 percent to 37 percent, since 2008.

Do people perceive a media bias to the left or to the right? Pew didn’t ask, but their data indicates – no surprise – more conservatives than liberals recognize a tilt in the news media: “About half (49 percent) of Republicans say there is a great deal of media bias, and this rises to 57 percent among conservative Republicans. By comparison, 32 percent of Democrats and 35 percent of independents see a great deal of bias in the news.”

Back in September, Gallup documented the public detected liberal bias by a nearly three-to-one margin: “The majority of Americans (60 percent) also continue to perceive bias, with 47 percent saying the media are too liberal and 13 percent saying they are too conservative.”

More from the Pew survey conducted in early January and released on February 7:

About three-quarters (74%) of Republicans who agree with the Tea Party movement say there is a great deal of bias – at least twice the percentage as in any other political group, including non-Tea Party Republicans (33%) and liberal Democrats (36%). Among news audiences, those who cite the Fox News Channel or the radio as their main source of campaign news are the most likely to say there is a great deal of bias in news coverage.

Pew’s report: “Cable Leads the Pack as Campaign News Source; Twitter, Facebook Play Very Modest Roles.” For the PDF version.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center