Majority of U.S. adults say news media should not add interpretation

Wednesday's Example of Media Bias   —   Posted on December 7, 2016

A key question that news organizations face, particularly during intense periods like election years, is to what degree journalists should present the facts with some interpretation….

A majority of U.S. adults (59%) reject the idea of adding interpretation, saying that the news media should present the facts alone, a recent Pew Research Center survey found. The survey was conducted Sept. 27-Oct. 10, before Election Day.

There are substantial partisan [strong support for a political party] differences over whether journalists should include interpretation in their stories:

  • Registered voters who supported Trump for president favored a “just the facts” approach by more than two-to-one, with only 29% saying the news media should add interpretation.
  • Clinton supporters, on the other hand, are evenly split on the issue, with half against interpretation and half favoring it.

This may be linked to a perception among Republicans that coverage of their candidate had been too tough. Among Republicans, 46% thought coverage of Trump had been too tough, while only three-in-ten Democrats thought the same of coverage of Clinton, according to Pew Research Center’s mid-September survey.

(Excerpted from a Nov. 18 Pew Research Center report.)