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Americans Divided on Media Fairness

Much to the chagrin of some, President Donald Trump has attacked deceiving mainstream media coverage and dubbed their propagators as "fake news" sources, a phrase that was ranked by Collins Dictionary as the word of the year. The American people are strongly divided along partisan lines as to whether they see the media as being fair, and this split represents the largest in the world.

President Donald Trump

According to a Pew Research Center survey of news consumption habits, only 47% of Americans believe that the mainstream media covers "political issues fairly." This would be a reasonable assumption: Studies have shown that media coverage of President Trump is mostly negative.

Only 21% of Republicans believe that the media covers the "political issues fairly." On the other hand, a whopping 55% of Democrats perceive fairness in coverage of political issues. This 34-point differential is the largest spread between supporters and non-supporters of the government in all of the countries surveyed by Pew.

The Pew Research Center's report, which goes into detail concerning their findings, reads:

Political party systems vary considerably across countries, but one consistent measure for comparing political divides is support for the governing party or parties. Individuals who identify with the governing party or parties are categorized as supporters, everyone else as nonsupporters. In the U.S., this means that people who identify with the Republican Party, which currently controls all branches of the federal government, are considered governing party supporters. People who identify with the Democratic Party, say they are independent, identify with some other party or do not identify with any political party are categorized as nonsupporters.
Using this approach, large gaps in ratings of the media emerge between governing party supporters and nonsupporters. On the question of whether their news media cover political issues fairly, for example, partisan differences appear in 20 of the 38 countries surveyed. In five countries, the gap is at least 20 percentage points, with the largest by far in the U.S. at 34 percentage points. The next highest partisan gap is in Israel, with a 26-point difference.