Poll: 68 Percent Of Americans Say Media ‘Watchdog’ Keeps Politicians In Check

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Although news organizations’ ratings in accuracy, fairness and independence remain at all-time lows, a new poll finds that Americans continue to say the press acts as a watchdog against political wrongdoing.

The Pew Research Center poll from July found that nearly seven-in-ten (68 percent) of U.S. adults say media criticism of political leaders keeps them in check. This is up 10 points from a 2011 poll.

However, 21 percent say press criticism keeps political leaders from doing their job.

Almost equal majorities of Republicans (69 percent), independents (69 percent) and Democrats (67 percent) see press watchdogs as a “Fourth Estate” check on political corruption. Younger people were found to be more likely to say news organizations keep political leaders in check.

But outside of its watchdog role, the media received decidedly negative ratings from the public. Sixty-seven percent said that news reports are often inaccurate, and even larger percentage (76 percent) say news organizations tend to favor a certain side of issues.

Three-quarters (75 percent) said that the press is often influenced by powerful people and organizations.

The Pew Research Center survey was conducted from July 17-21 among 1,480 American adults. Fifty percent of respondents cited the internet as their main source for national and international news – a 7 percent increase from 43 percent in a 2011 Pew survey.

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