Oct 4, 2009

Facts for factions

A Pew survey finds 62 percent of Americans want the media to exercise a watchdog role over politicians. Meantime, only 29 percent of Americans think the media gets the facts straight - the worst result in over two decades of polling.

Partisan leanings account for some of the disparity. People allied with the party in power are much less likely to support watchdogs than those allied with the party out of power.

The media's increasingly fragmented and opinionated approach to coverage only amplifies this, as readers expect watchdogs to chase away the opposition. In this worldview, "facts" are whatever helps the watchdog get the job done - and like with members of Congress, people tend to like their own facts and dislike everyone else's.

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